Boxer et al 2013_Exposure to violence.pdf - NIH Public Access Author Manuscript Child Dev Author manuscript available in PMC 2014 January 01 NIH-PA

Boxer et al 2013_Exposure to violence.pdf - NIH Public...

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Exposure to Violence across the Social Ecosystem and the Development of Aggression: A Test of Ecological Theory in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Paul Boxer , Rutgers University and University of Michigan L. Rowell Huesmann , University of Michigan Eric F. Dubow , Bowling Green State University and University of Michigan Simha F. Landau , Hebrew University of Jerusalem Shira Dvir Gvirsman , Hebrew University of Jerusalem Khalil Shikaki , and Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research Jeremy Ginges New School for Social Research Abstract Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) ecological model proposes that events in higher-order social ecosystems should influence human development through their impact on events in lower-order social ecosystems. This proposition was tested with respect to ecological violence and the development of children’s aggression via analyses of three waves of data (one wave yearly for three years) from three age cohorts (starting ages 8, 11, and 14) representing three populations in the Middle East: Palestinians (N = 600), Israeli Jews (N = 451), and Israeli Arabs (N = 450). Results supported a hypothesized model in which ethno-political violence increases community, family, and school violence and children’s aggression. Findings are discussed with respect to ecological and observational learning perspectives on the development of aggressive behavior. Observing violence stimulates violence (Bandura, 1977; Huesmann, 1997; Huesmann & Kirwil, 2007), and children’s aggressive and violent behavior is particularly sensitive to the effects of violence in the social environment. Numerous field studies have demonstrated that, despite aggression’s dispositional substrates, children’s observations of violence contribute to the development of habitual aggression (Eron, 1987). This is true for observations of violence in families (e.g., Boxer, Gullan, & Mahoney, 2009; Dodge, Pettit, & Bates, 1990), in neighborhoods (e.g., Gorman-Smith & Tolan, 1998; Guerra, Huesmann, & Spindler, 2003), in peer groups (e.g., Espelage, Holt, & Henkel, 2003; Snyder et al., 2008), and in the mass media (e.g., Anderson, Gentile, & Buckley, 2007; Huesmann, Moise- Titus, Podolski, & Eron, 2003). For many children, observations and interactions in these Correspondence to: Dr. Paul Boxer, Department of Psychology, Rutgers University, Newark NJ 07102. [email protected] NIH Public Access Author Manuscript Child Dev . Author manuscript; available in PMC 2014 January 01. Published in final edited form as: Child Dev . 2013 January ; 84(1): 163–177. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01848.x. NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript NIH-PA Author Manuscript
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environments socialize them away from early childhood predispositions toward aggression (Tremblay & Nagin, 2005), but for others the observations and interactions enhance their risk for behaving aggressively later in life. These socialization experiences combine observational learning with conditioning to create potentially long-lasting habitual styles of behavior (Eron, 1987; Huesmann & Kirwil, 2007).
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