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“Mitigating Instigation”: Cultural Phenomenological Influences of Anger and Fighting Among “Big-Boned” and “Baby-Faced” African American Youth

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Abstract

While the violent behavior of youth continues to strike fear in the hearts of American citizens, researchers still are unable to make sense of interpersonal and ecological cultural factors that mitigate anger acted out toward others and turned inward. A cultural phenomenological perspective was applied to investigate if self- and other-perceived physical maturity and racial socialization experiences were influential in the expressions of anger and aggression among African American youth. Cross-validation of self-reports of fighting variables was found. Results indicate that the initiation and frequency of fighting behavior is higher for boys, youth who look physically mature, who report lower levels of calamity fear, lower levels of racial socialization, higher levels of anger acting out, and lower levels of anger control. Racial socialization is proposed as 1 way to manage cultural ecological demands that may lead to the use of aggression. Implications for community psychological intervention of violence are proposed.

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Stevenson, H.C., Herrero-Taylor, T., Cameron, R. et al. “Mitigating Instigation”: Cultural Phenomenological Influences of Anger and Fighting Among “Big-Boned” and “Baby-Faced” African American Youth. Journal of Youth and Adolescence 31, 473–485 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1020267221683

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