Understanding Violence

Synopsis

What impels human beings to harm others-family members or strangers? And how can these impulses and actions be prevented or controlled? Heightened public awareness of and concern about what is widely perceived as a recent explosion of violence, on a spectrum from domestic abuse to street crime to terrorism has motivated behavioral and social scientists to cast new light on old questions. Many hypotheses have been offered. In this book Elizabeth Kandel Englander sorts, structures, and evaluates them. She draws on contemporary research and theory in varied fields-clinical and social psychology, sociology, criminology, psychiatry, social work, neuropsychology, behavioral genetics, and education-to present a uniquely balanced, integrated, and readable summary of what we currently know about the causes and effects of violence. Throughout, she emphasizes the necessity of distinguishing among different types of violent behavior and of realizing that nature and nurture interact in human development. There are no simple answers and many well-accepted "facts" must be challenged. This thoroughly revised and expanded second edition of Understanding Violence will be welcomed by all those concerned with violent offenders and their victims, and by their students and trainees. New chapters discuss: biological and psychological factors in violence; developmental and social learning factors in violence; and youth violence, including gang conflicts and school shootings. New coverage includes recent research on: children's use of violent video games and their relationship to violent or aggressive behavior-alcohol use and violence, and the role of alcohol and drugs in violent crime; the types and causes of sexual assault; spousal homicide, child abuse, and physical punishment; and social and cultural factors in violence. Updated statistics on frequencies and types of violent crimes are also incorporated.

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