Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Aggression among Korean Adolescents: A Comparison between Delinquents and Nondelinquents

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Aggression among Korean Adolescents: A Comparison between Delinquents and Nondelinquents

Article excerpt

In this study family dynamics, personality, alcohol and drug abuse, coping strategies and sexual abuse in nondelinquent and delinquent adolescents were compared and a path model of aggression among Korean adolescents was constructed. Using a proportional stratified random sampling method, a sample of 2,100 Korean adolescents was assessed. Data were collected using a cross-sectional design, via anonymous, self-reporting questionnaires. Delinquent adolescents were found to have a higher incidence of dysfunctional family dynamics, greater incidence of antisocial personality, higher tendency to depression, and higher levels of aggressive impulsiveness than nondelinquent adolescents. Delinquent adolescents reported higher incidences of being sexually abused, and alcohol and drug abuse, and showed a greater tendency toward cognitive and behavioral avoidance coping strategies compared to nondelinquent adolescents. Person-related aggressive impulsiveness, antisocial personality tendency, and self-injurious aggressive impulsiveness had the largest significant total effects on aggressive behavior among Korean adolescents.

Keywords: aggression, family dynamics, Korean adolescents, personality.

Aggression and violent behavior among adolescents have become major public health and social problems in South Korea, as well as elsewhere around the world. The most frequently reported types of aggressive and violent behavior according to studies in South Korea are cyber terror (26.9%), the extortion of money and articles (26.4%), threatening behavior or intimidation (22.9%), physical assault (21.4%), and annoyance (17.6%) (http://www.jikim.net, Foundation for Prevention of Juvenile Violence, 2002). The number of children and adolescents exposed to violence, either directly as perpetrators or victims, or indirectly as witnesses, is on the rise. We can expect that this increasing occurrence of youth violence will be accompanied by a similar increase in the negative impact of violence on children and youth. Researchers have documented multiple negative outcomes related to youth exposure to violence that manifest themselves on many levels of human functioning. In past research, outcome measures examining impact have included cognitive and moral development (Fitzpatrick, 1993), aggression (Davis & Bolster, 1992), academic adjustment (Dubrow & Tisak, 1989), resiliency (Hill & Madhere, 1996), and maladaptive behavior (Osofsky, Wewers, Hann, & Fich, 1993), including the self-reported use of violence (DuRant, Cadenhead, Pendergrast Slavens, & Linder, 1994).

There is a general consensus that a complex interaction exists between environmental (social, familial, and economic) and personal characteristics (personality, aptitude, maturity, and psychopathology) and that this interaction is associated with increased aggressive and violent behavior among adolescents (Lenssen, Doreleijers, Dijk, & Hartman, 2000; Smith, 1995).

Many theoretical and empirical attempts also have been made to understand the environmental and biological factors contributing to aggressive behavior. Generally, research suggests that various factors, including family dynamics (Cohen & Rice, 1997), personality (Eron & Huesmann, 1990; Farrington, 1994), coping strategy (Bryant, 1992; Ruchkin, Eisemann, & Hagglof, 1999), sexual abuse (Scott, 1999), and substance abuse (Dawkins, 1997; Hien & Hien, 1998; Webb, Bray, Getz, & Adams, 2002) may be related to aggressive and violent behavior.

These findings indicate that there are many factors that contribute to the development of aggressive behavior among adolescents, and that there are intricate interactions among these contributing factors. However, little research exists on how these factors are related to the aggression among Korean adolescents. Therefore, this study was designed to determine the influence of each of these variables - family dynamics, personality, alcohol and drug abuse, coping strategies, and sexual abuse - on aggression and to construct a path model of aggression among Korean adolescents. …

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