Institutional Aggression Essay Plan

Here's an essay plan on the subject of institutional aggression. Use it if you want, I chose these studies/explanations as they had the most information to write about. When writing essays in psych remember about breadth and dept, 200 words approx for AO1 and 400 approx for AO2/3.

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  • Created by: Olivia
  • Created on: 23-01-10 15:16
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Institutional Aggression Essay Plan
1. Describe in detail institutional aggression within groups. Wortley found that there were over
26,000 reported prisoner-prisoner assaults in US prisons, leading to 83 deaths.
2. Institutional Aggression Between Groups- Genocide- Staub- five stages that lead to
genocide- 1) difficult social conditions, 2) scapegoating of a less powerful group, 3) negative
evaluation and dehumanisation of the target group, 4) moral values and rules becoming
inapplicable and the killing begins, 5) the passivity of bystanders ( the UN) enhances the
3. "Importation Model"- Irwin and Cressey- prisoners are not "blank slates." They bring their
social history and traits with them into prison, this influences their adaption to prison life.
Critical Point: This theory has some evidence to support it. Harer and Steffensmeier looked
at 58 US prisons and found that black inmates had significantly higher rates of violent
behaviour but lower rates of alcohol-related and drug-related misconduct than white
inmates. Therefore, this research backs up the importation model as it highlights social
differences within prisons.
4. "Deprivation Model"- Paterline and Peterson- prisoner or patient aggression is the product
of the stressful and oppressive conditions of the institution itself. Such as crowding and staff
experience. Hodgkinson found that trainee nurses are more likely to suffer violent assault
than experienced ones. There is good evidence to confirm the claim that peer violence is
used to relieve the deprivation imposed by prisons. For instance Mc Corkle found that
overcrowding, lack of privacy and the lack of meaningful activity all significantly influence
peer violence. However, there is some evidence to contradict the theory. Nijiman found that
increased personal space failed to decrease the level of violent incidents among patients in
psychiatric units. Therefore, this disproves the theory as by giving patients more space they
should feel happier.
5. One particular type of institutional aggression within groups is hazing. This is a form of
bullying based on a tradition within many groups to discipline junior members and maintain a
strict pecking order. Allan and Madden found that out of 11,000 students who were involved
with clubs and teams, over half had experienced hazing. There are studies to back up the
existence of hazing. McCorkle found that in prisons, the domination of the weak was seen by
inmates as crucial to maintaining status, with passive behaviour generally being interpreted
as weakness or vulnerability and therefore likely to provoke exploitation. Consequently, this
study shows consistency for the concept of hazing as it implies using hierarchies to establish
6. Although, there is a problem defining what is and what isn't aggressive behaviour for hazing.
For example some people who are exposed to hazing seem to regard it as just innocent fun.
In a survey of US students, one out of five reported they had experienced hazing, yet only
one in 20 of these students regarded themselves as having experienced hazing. Therefore,
there is methodological flaw in the research, as researchers need to define hazing
indefinitely so it is easier to identify when hazing has occurred.


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