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PERSONALITY AND BEHAVIORAL PATTERNS


The behavioral approach, cognitive approach, and humanistic approach have been chosen to describe the potential causes and treatment strategies for the increasing cases of school violence.

The behavioral approach majorly includes concepts like social learning theory, operant conditioning, and classical conditioning. According to the social learning theory, exposure to negative models or violent TV content or video games could be the prominent causes of school violence. Besides, as per the concept of operational conditioning, getting reinforcement for performing aggressive acts can strengthen it. The principle of classical conditioning suggests that associating being violent with some positive outcomes can have a role in its rising cases. In the treatment plan, negative punishment and exposure to calm and composed models can work.

According to the cognitive approach, dysfunctional thoughts are the major causes leading to problematic behavior. The treatment plan must focus on modifying the irrational cognitive framework for bringing a change in behavioral patterns.

According to the humanistic approach, a lack of unconditional reward, others' judgmental behavior, and unfulfillment of deficiency needs (as presented by Abraham Maslow) can be related to increasing cases of school violence. Person-centered therapy can be used as a potential treatment. If a client's aggressive behavior is a result of any unsatisfactory fulfilled need (as per Maslow's hierarchy), a therapist can make interventions to resolve it.

John Watson is considered to be the father of behaviorism. He accentuated that behavior that a person gets engaged in is solely based on their learning. No intrinsic or predisposition factors are contributing to it. Also, what cannot be seen in a physical world cannot be used to make scientific inferences. Therefore, he disregarded studying people's thoughts and feelings and focused only on their observable actions. Some of the major proponents of this school of thought are Ivan Pavlov, Burrhus Frederick Skinner, and Albert Bandura. Ivan Pavlov originated the notion of classical conditioning wherein he stated that an organism learns via an association between two stimuli. Burrhus Frederick Skinner gave the concept of operational conditioning wherein he stated that the behavior of a person is influenced by whether they are presented with rewards or punishment for getting engaged in a certain action. Rewarding the behavior is likely to make it stronger, whereas punishment decreases its frequency. Albert Bandura introduced the social learning theory; wherein he stated that learning is solely based on what an individual observes others doing. They tend to reproduce the behavior they see others performing. It involves four steps- attention, retention, reproduction, and motivation.

Let us relate the significant themes of behaviorism with increasing incidents of school violence. Dr. Bean, who is a behavioral psychologist, is likely to think that aggressive children must be getting some reinforcement (positive or negative) to be violent as per the principle of operant conditioning. For instance, in our society, showing hostility is often associated with masculinity. Boys who are calm and polite are often made fun of by their peers (positive punishment). Showing violence helps them avoid mockery (negative reinforcement) and maintaining a muscular image (positive reinforcement). If Dr. Bean considers the idea of social learning theory, he is likely to focus on the fact that these days TV programs, video games, and movies, which are quite popular among children, are filled with violence. Also, if the families children belong to are dysfunctional and parents keep abusing each other, there are high chances that a child acquires similar traits. Observing that their favorite characters are behaving hostile might increase their aggression level (Anderson et al., 2010). This is likely to encourage them to bully or even kill their peers if they refuse to do what they want. There are chances that this makes them desensitized to violent acts in their surroundings. If any of their peers or classmates is harming others, they might begin to ignore such things instead of reporting the matter to the concerned authority. According to the principle of classical conditioning, they might associate doing aggressive acts with an increased sense of supremacy and dominance in the classroom. This can persuade them to repeat such acts in the future.

The potential treatment could be giving the children a negative punishment for being engaged in aggressive acts. A teacher or parents at home can take away the desirable stimulus from a child if they show hostility. They must take care of the fact that children must have an insight into which of their actions are the reason for taking away their desirable things. This is likely to discourage them from being aggressive again. Considering the principle of social learning, children must be stopped from watching aggressive TV programs or playing violent games. They should be exposed to calm and polite models. This would help in making them disciplined and composed.

The cognitive approach accentuates that the dysfunctional thoughts that engross people's mind are the major causes of behavioral problems. For instance, a child has a belief that others are jealous and want to harm them. As a consequence, they begin to discount others' positive gestures towards them and develop a desire to hurt them in return. In their yearning to take revenge, they might become so blind that they kill others. Unless their thought process is not rectified, there cannot be a productive change in their behavioral patterns. Donald Meichenbaum, Aaron Beck, and Albert Ellis are the key supporters of this approach. Dr. Cogent, who is a cognitive psychologist, is likely to conclude that the irrational beliefs of children (such as not showing aggression would make them perceived fragile and non-assertive) can be the leading cause of school violence. Children might also think that if they do not act hostile, others can take their advantage, and they will not be able to establish a robust image. Such a mental framework provokes them to show hostility.

The potential treatment, according to this approach, is to use therapeutic techniques, such as devil's advocate, validity testing, role-playing, psychoeducation, and imagery to modify the dysfunctional cognitive framework. Counseling sessions/workshops should be organized for school students from time to time to help them identify and alter their irrational beliefs. This would help in preventing such cases in the future.

According to the humanistic approach, people are predisposed to perform good deeds. They have an innate desire to make their surroundings better and achieve their optimal potential. If they get into some undesirable behavior, it is due to their negative experiences with life. Carl Rogers is one of the chief proponents of this approach. He accentuated that each individual has two prime needs, which are the need for self-actualization and the need for positive regard. However, if the love and care a person receives are conditional, it is likely to foster self-discrepancies. Conversely, if the love and care a person receives are unconditional, it facilitates the process of self-actualization. A dearth of unconditional love and others' judgmental attitude could be the prominent factors that Dr. Humine, who is a humanistic psychologist, is likely to consider while understanding the causes of rising cases of school violence.

Besides, if Dr. Humine thinks of Abraham Maslow's theory (who is another famous theorist of the humanistic approach), he might take into account that if any of the deficiency needs (including physiological needs, safety needs, need for love and belongingness, and esteem needs) that Maslow presented in the hierarchy are not fulfilled, it can lead to problematic behavior. For instance, if esteem needs are unmet, a child might derive contentment by hurting others. This might provide them with a sense of superiority.


Person-centered therapy can be used as a potential treatment. According to this therapy, the therapist must have three attributes, which are genuineness, empathy, and the ability to show clients the unconditional positive regard. It helps in making the clients understood and accepted. They can express the problems they are facing openly. It encourages them for personal-growth towards self-actualization. Besides, the therapist needs to identify the current level of a client's need in the hierarchy given by Maslow. They need to make interventions to partially fulfill a client's unmet needs that are dominantly shaping violent behavior in them.









References

Chang, J., Clott, A., de Silva, P., Hettige, S., Juergensmeyer, M., Kennedy, D., & Peguero, A. A. (2014). The causes and consequences of group violence: From bullies to terrorists. Lexington Books. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/270758443_Group_Violence_Revisited_Common_Themes_across_Types_of_Group_Violence

Coghlan, D. (1993). A person-centered approach to dealing with resistance to change. Leadership & Organization Development Journal. https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/01437739310039433/full/html

Kakar, S. (1999). Understanding Violence by Elizabeth Kandel Englander Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1997, 187 pages. The Social Science Journal, 36(2). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/235220425_Contributions_of_three_social_theories_to_understanding_bullying_perpetration_and_victimization_among_school-aged_youth

Ma, J., Grogan-Kaylor, A., & Delva, J. (2016). Behavior Problems Among Adolescents Exposed to Family and Community Violence in Chile. Family Relations, 65(3), 502-516. https://doi.org/10.1111/fare.12199

McLeod, S. A. (February 05, 2017). Behaviorist approach. Simply Psychology. https://www.simplypsychology.org/behaviorism.html

Stuart, E. W., Shimp, T. A., & Engle, R. W. (1990). Classical conditioning of negative attitudes. ACR North American Advances. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/10003525_Attitudes_Established_By_Classical_Conditioning

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