Aggressive behavior and effective prevention programs for aggressive children in america and the united kingdom - Some suggesstions for Viet Nam

Abstract. This paper presents comprehensive literature review on aggressive behaviour, including definition, classifications, theories, development and causes of aggressive behaviour in children. By reviewing and evaluating some prevention programs for aggressive behaviour that have been used mainly in America and in the United Kingdom, this paper, then, proposes four suggestions for developing and implementing suitable prevention program for aggressive children in a Vietnam school context.

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89 HNUE JOURNAL OF SCIENCE DOI: 10.18173/2354-1067.2018-0054 Social Sciences, 2018, Volume 63, Issue 7, pp. 89-101 This paper is available online at AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR AND EFFECTIVE PREVENTION PROGRAMS FOR AGGRESSIVE CHILDREN IN AMERICA AND THE UNITED KINGDOM - SOME SUGGESSTIONS FOR VIET NAM Bui Thi Thu Huyen Faculty of Psychology and Pedagogy, Hanoi National University of Education Abstract. This paper presents comprehensive literature review on aggressive behaviour, including definition, classifications, theories, development and causes of aggressive behaviour in children. By reviewing and evaluating some prevention programs for aggressive behaviour that have been used mainly in America and in the United Kingdom, this paper, then, proposes four suggestions for developing and implementing suitable prevention program for aggressive children in a Vietnam school context. Key words: aggression, aggressive children, prevention program. 1. Introduction In recent years, school violence in general and student’s aggressive behaviour in particular have become a current issue worldwide, including Vietnam. Blake and Hamrin (2007) stressed that aggression is one of the most frequent behavioural problems among adolescents, with influence on more than 10% those from 6 to 15 year olds (Ȍzabaci, 2011). Empirical studies in psychology supported this conclusion and demonstrated that aggressive behaviour has a positive correlation with school violence, extreme negativism, oppositional and antisocial behavior, criminal and violation (Hoogsteder et al., 2015; Nelson & Schultz, 2009). Aggressive children and adolescents are often diagnosed with oppositional disruptive disorder and conduct disorder. Seriously, aggressive children or adolescents tend to become severely aggressive in adulthood (Smeets et al., 2015). Therefore, prevention and intervention programs for aggressive children have been developed and implemented in many countries such as America, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and Australia etc. with promising outcomes. For instance, the Coping Power and the Second Step as a school-based prevention program have been applied in the US since 1997 and the Social Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) in the UK since 2004. Aggression in children and adolescents has potentiality of cause negative consequences not only on each individual, family but also the whole society. At individual level, aggressive behaviours such as fighting, teasing, boycotting reduce learning outcomes, leading to social and societal boycott and mental health decline for both the subjects and objects of aggression (Colasante et al. 2015). Lochman et al. (2000) added that aggressive children tend to be physically stimuli, which therefore affects their strategies to address social problems. Received January 6, 2018. Accepted July 29, 2018. Contact Bui Thi Thu Huyen, e-mail address: huyenbuithu2004@gmail.com Bui Thi Thu Huyen 90 In family, aggression might break the close relationships, causing a stressful and emotional atmosphere that leads to conflict. For example, 15-20% of families in England face conflicting issues stemming from their emotional and behavioural problems (Down, Willner, Watts, & Griffiths, 2011). At social level, aggression intervention programs are costly. Especially, cases of children exhibiting unhealthy aggression are also an economic burden for country. Smeets et al. (2015) also argued that aggression requires immediate attention and attention, so it will cost a great deal to address and intervene. In addition, children who commit aggression will have to leave school for specialized education, or police and court intervention. In Vietnam, research into aggressive behavior has been received great attention over the last decade (Tran Van Cong et al., 2016; Nguyen Thanh Binh & Nguyen Thi Mai Lan, 2013; Tran Thi Minh Duc, 2010; Hoang Xuan Dung, 2010). Nevertheless, prevention and intervention programs for this kind of behaviour are still limited. Especially there has been no study to systematically evaluate the effectiveness of these supporting programs in Vietnamese schools. Due to this, the current paper presents systematic overview literature on aggressive behaviour in children from definition, classification, theories, development and causes of aggression. By evaluating some prevention and intervention program for aggressive children that have been utilized worldwide, this article proposes some suggestions for designing and implementing prevention program for aggressive children in Vietnamese school settings. 2. Content 2.1. Literature on aggressive behaviour 2.1.1. What is aggressive behaviour? Bandura (1973) noted in his comprehensive work that looking into the definition of aggression is similar to go into a “linguistic juggle”. The concept of “aggression” is one of those that cause a lot of controversies in social psychology (Hoang Xuan Dung, 2010). Currently, there are more than 200 definitions of aggression, which are given by psychologists (Underwood, 2003). This results from the diversity of terms referring to this behaviour such as hostility, destructive behaviour, oppositional behaviour, misbehaviour and violent behaviour. From terminology aspect, the above word is translated from English “aggression” or Latin “Aggressio” meaning “attack”. When translated into Vietnamese, it is flexibly understood based on specific situations. In doing research, various authors have been confused of violent behavior and aggressive behavior. Although these two concepts are relevant, they cannot be used interchangeably. The former refers to a broader content than the later. Fernandez (2013) gave the following diagram about the relation among anger, violence and aggression: Diagram 1. Relation among anger, violence and aggression (Fernandez, 2013; p.4) Anger Physical aggression Violence Aggressive behavior and effective prevention programs for aggressive children in america and the United 91 Despite arguments about the concept of aggressive behaviour, most researchers agree on two typical distinguishing phenomena of this behaviour which are (1) the subject with intention to cause hurt and (2) the victims with thought and feeling of hurt in any particular aspect. Tran Thi My Lương (2015) added that aggression is the violation of moral standard or social law. In this paper, it can be seen that, generally, the definition of aggression can be categorized in two ways. The first one emphasizes on the purpose which is the intention to cause injury (typical feature) (e.g., Dollard et al., 1939; Berkowitz, 1993; Baron, 1994; Vecchio & O’Leary, 2004)). For example, Berkowitz (1993) supposed that any behaviour intentionally causes hurt for other people either in terms of mental or physical aspect should be considered as aggressive behaviour. The second trend does not put an emphasis on the behaviour’s intention but its effects (e.g., Bandura, 1973; Buss, 1961; Loeber & Hay, 1997, 1998; Lochman, 1984; Lochman, Whidby, & FitzGenrald, 2000; Nelson & Finch, 2000, 2008). One example representing for this way is Bandura (1973) who demonstrated that any reactions between individuals including physical behavior or speech that causes injury should be considered as aggression. One of definitions of aggression used widely in Vietnam nowadays is that “this is the intentional, purposeful, conscious behaviour causing injury for any person or anything, whether its aim is achieved or not” (Tran Thi Minh Duc, 2010). From another perspective, Huynh Van Son (2014) differentiated “aggression” and “hostility”. In particular, they are basically dissimilar. Aggression is a special kind of behaviour, whereas hostility is a psychological feature of human’s personality. Aggression is regarded as an organized process, presenting typical functions, whereas hostility is understood as a component of a complex system, which is a part of human’s psychological system. Besides, in English the term “anger” and “aggression” sometimes might make people get confused and use them interchangeably (Edkhardt, 2004). However, the key difference is that aggression is the behaviour, while anger is a type of emotion. Anger and aggression are closely linked with each other; the former plays an important role in “setting fire” of different kinds of aggressive behaviour (Smith, Graber, & Daunic, 2009), even anger is an important precursor of aggressive behaviour (DiGiuseppe & Tafrate, 2010). The study by Averill (1983), nevertheless, proved that the relationship between anger and aggression is not the cause-effect one because the later does not always result from the former, and it is not always true that whenever people get angry, they are aggressive. Moreover, the study by Maag, Swearer, &Toland (2009) added that humans may have aggressive response when they are depressed, anxiety or stressful. 2.1.2. Types of aggressive behaviour Many researchers on aggression agree to classify aggressive behaviours based on form and function (e.g., Vitaro, Brendgen, & Barker, 2006; Noel & Emest, 2005). As by formal criteria, aggressive behaviour is divided into two categories: physical aggression including hitting, pushing, kicking, and indirect aggression such as badly gossiping, deliberately humiliating others, damaging others' property. From another viewpoint, Sukhodolsky & Scahill (2012) divided aggressive behaviour into 4 types, including impulsive aggression, reactive aggression, hostile aggression and affective aggression, whereas, Tran Van Cong et al., (2017) looked into attitude aggression and behavioral aggression. A widely used classification over the last decades is the functional classification criterion (e.g., Sullivan et al., 2010; Vitaro, Brendgen, & Barker, 2006). Accordingly, aggression is also divided into two categories: reactive aggression and proactive aggression. It can be said that this classification focuses on whether the behaviour is more emotional or motivational.  Proactive aggression is a deliberate act directed toward achieving the desired goal. The function of this form of aggressive behaviour is based on Bandura's social learning model (1973), which explains that aggression is the result of learning behaviour which towards proactive function. For example, the act of threatening is proactive aggression because it involves only Bui Thi Thu Huyen 92 verbal attempt to achieve some certain power; or killing strangers to rob or steal is proactive aggression (Berkowitz, 1993). Proactive aggression often considered as “cold blood” aggression or “attack” aggression (e.g., Vitaro et al., 2006; Card & Little, 2006).  In contrast, reactive aggression is a more emotional behaviour in response to threats, frustrations, or failures. This type of aggression links to the expression of anger and stems from the anger-frustration theory (1993), in which aggression is understood to be a response to a provocation. Therefore, the main purpose of this form of aggression is to counteract irritating stimuli or threats (Vitaro et al., 2006). For example, killing someone just because they occupy their parking space or kills an acquaintance in a fight or a conflict is a reactive aggression. Therefore, this type of aggression is also known as "hot blood" aggression, "counterattack" aggression or "impulsive" aggression (e.g., Card & Little, 2006, Berkowitz, 1993, Buss, 1961). Applying this classification into the case of children, Nelson & Schultz (2009) found that children with aggressive behaviour are often considered "hot-tempered", angry, and aggressive in front of simple and normal causes. Since then, children often find ways to harm the object and see them as the cause of all problems. Therefore, those children are often alienated, boycotted by their friends. Conversely, children who exhibit proactive aggression often have the desire to possess or gain certain power. For example, stripping their friends’ meal, stealing phones, bullying friends was to show power. Although they are not loved by friends, these aggressive children are often the leader (Dodge, 1991). However, much of the study of aggressive behaviour primarily focused on formative rather than functional. On the basis of form, external aggression (physical aggression) is more prevalent in males, while male and female students have similarly indirect aggressive behaviour (Crick & Grotpeter, 1995). 2.1.3. Psychological model of aggressive behaviour In terms of mechanisms, aggression on a basis is a deliberate behaviour that hurts or inflicts injury on another person or object. Many authors explained the mechanism of aggressive behaviour resulting from uncontrolled anger (e.g., Baumeister, 2003; Moffit, 1993; Ȍzabaci, 2011) or high impulse that must be "released" to feel more comfortable for the subject of aggressive behaviour (Freud). Due to a strong relationship between emotions and motive, DiGiussepe & Tafrate (2010) believed that aggression is developed as an acquired drive through learning to avoid pain and frustration. In terms of psychological model of aggression, there is a great debate on the question "why do people react aggressively?" (Baron & Richardson, 1994) that leads to a variety of theories and models of behavioural explanations. It can be synthesized into four basic models as follows:  Behavioral/Learning Model: it explains aggression based on operant conditioning, classical conditioning and observational learning. One of the earliest hypotheses, the Frustration- Aggression Hypothesis (Dollard et al., 1939) emphasized that aggression often occurs in situations where the individual's purpose is threatened or blocked. Thus, aggressive behavior is manifested either as a response (conditioned response to frustration) or a tool (reinforced behaviour intended to counter frustration). In both cases, aggression is believed to perform the function of "reviving" the previously reinforced reactions. The development of aggressive behaviour can be sustained by interactions within the family. For example, when a child has a tantrum and his parents make a concession and loose the previous curfew, the behaviour is being negatively reinforced by the concession in parents’ regulation. Thus the child's destructive behaviour is reinforced through negatively reinforced mechanisms. DiGiussepe & Tafrate (2010) are in line with the above viewpoint. Particular they argued that simple and direct aggression is the reaction of a child to negative or unwanted stimuli. If reacting by demonstrating aggression achieves goals and succeed, aggression will be strengthened. As the child grows up, they will Aggressive behavior and effective prevention programs for aggressive children in america and the United 93 evaluate and attribute different stimuli as uncomfortable, from which there will be an aggressive reaction as a modeled and reinforced behavior. Furthermore, the Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis also posited the role of resentment in the development of aggression. This model recognizes that expectation of retaliation or punishment for using aggression would produce fear that could inhibit aggression. This leads to a process called “displacement”, where an individual aggresses against a safer target to achieve the desired retaliation.  The Social-Cognitive Model: it provides theoretical and empirical grounds for explaining the development and maintenance of aggressive behaviour. This model originates from Bandura's social learning theory (1973) and applies problem solving to behavioural modeling. Dodge (1980) proposed a social information-processing model with 5 steps such as encoding of social cues; response search, response decision, and enacting of behavior. Any interruption in these processes will cause aggressive behaviour. For example, people often react aggressively when they think that they have been treated unfairly, and that injustice is a "punishment" to them. These thoughts are triggered not only by the actual actions of others, but also by the distortion in the process of processing social information. And the result is anger and aggression. In this case, producing intervention programs that focus on helping children improve their social problem solving skills is an appropriate move.  The Emotional Arousal Model: it shows that the physical stimulus and the intensity of anger emotion are related to aggression. The representative of this approach is Berkowitz (1993) who gave the model of aggression that emotional anger and other negative emotions play a role in adjusting hostile aggression. His opinion is that there are so many uncomfortable stimuli such as stress, frustration, pain, unbothered emotions which will stimulate negative emotions, especially anger, and thereby trigger aggressive behavior. Berkowitz (1993) even stressed that any negative emotions that are strong enough will cause aggression. Some studies have shown a correlation between the degree of anger and the variety of aggressive behaviours. It can be seen that this model is not really convincing about the cause of aggression, and it even against the traditional viewpoints of aggression.  The General Aggression Model (Anderson & Bushman, 2002): By claiming that the existing models have failed to explain some points in relation to aggression, Anderson and Bushman (2002) proposed a model namely “General Aggression model”, which assumes that there is a number of factors causing aggressive behaviour including personal, situational, social, biological and psychological ones. Personal variables include traits, gender, attitude, values, beliefs and long-term goals. These personal factors will interact with situational factors such as aggressive cues, provocations, pain, frustrations, biological states, and incentives to cause aggression. Anderson and Bushman (2010) indicated that cognitive variables associated with stimuli cues and biological states will affect to emotional state and autonomic arousal. At this point, a person evaluates the short term and long term outcomes associated with aggression and alternative responses. As a result of all these processes, aggression will or will not occur. 2.1.4. The development of aggressive behavior in human beings It has been believed that developmentally simple and direct aggressive behaviour may be the first actions a young human takes to destroy negative stimuli. If the success of this early behaviour is rewarded then the desire to aggress becomes stronger. As the child grows up and more stimuli are thought as unpleasant and successfully confronted, the strength of this association will increase. Based on research, the highest rate of observed physical aggression are accounted for children aged 2- 3, with more than 70% involving in hitting (Keenan & Shaw, 2003). This figure fortunately declines over the following year, with only 12% of children in year 3 (Smith al., 2009). Bui Thi Thu Huyen 94 The reasons assumed for the significant rate of physical aggression in press school were the brain and cognitive development accompanied with language acquisition skills (Dione et al., 2003). Apparently when children get older with a significant achievement in terms of language and cognition, more symbolic forms of anger tend to be used instead of violent expressions (Kassinove and Sukhodolsky, 1995). Despite this, when children are at the age of teenager or adolescents, they tend to experience anger and aggressive behaviours as well as antisocial behaviours significantly (Arthur & Stephen, 20
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