Rumination and the Displacement of Aggression in UK Gang Affiliated Youth

Gang Aggression

  • Common image of gang aggression is murder and inter-gang violence

  • However this is innacurate

  • Gang aggression is complex and is influenced by many of the same variables that are observed in non-criminal populations

  • Focus on displaced aggression (Dollard et al 1939) which occurs at interpersonal and intergroup levels

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Displaced Aggression

  • An aggressive action that was directed towards an individual or object that wasn’t the source of provocation

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Triggered Displaced Aggression

  • Disproportionate levels of aggression directed at an individual or object that was a minor provocation

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Context for Displacing Aggression

  • Provoking situation has an immaterial source, for example the economy is bad

  • The source of provocation leaves before retaliation, for example the individual who damaged the car disappeared before they were caught

  • The individual who caused the provocation has power over you, for example your employer tells you how stupid he thinks you are

  • Situations like the ones above can make an individual want to respond aggressively

  • This will influence their perceptions and reactions to subsequent events and increase the chances of overreacting to something that would normally just be of mild annoyance

  • Vasquez et al 2006

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Rumination

  • Defined as a self-focused attention towards an individual’s thoughts and feelings

  • Defined as provocation focused thought

  • Can maintain negative affect and cognitive representations of provoking events, therefore keeping individuals ready for aggressive response

  • Expect gang members to ruminate more than non-gang members because people who perceive anger as useful are more likely to ruminate

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Predictions

  • Gang affiliation can be correlated with rumination and displaced aggression

  • Gang affiliation and rumination can interact

  • Rumination can predict displaced aggression more than other factors, like trait aggression and trait hostility

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