A Developmental Model of Aggression and Violence: Microsocial and Macrosocial Dynamics Within an Ecological Framework

  • Thomas J. Dishion


In this chapter an ecological framework is proposed for understanding the development of individual differences in aggression and violence from childhood to adulthood. The model is based on three organizing hypotheses. The first hypothesis is that aversive social behaviors and threats can function to “coerce” the immediate social environment (i.e., microdynamics) such that aggressive behavior is strengthened over time (Patterson, 1982). The second hypothesis is that some aggressive individuals join within social networks; as such, aggression amplifies in lethality and frequency through social contagion dynamics (i.e., macrodynamics) and then culminates in violence (Dishion & Tipsord, 2011). The third hypothesis is that aggression and violence are predictable and preventable and that interventions that target the key micro- and macrodynamic social processes relevant to each developmental period can reduce individual levels of aggression and prevalence of aggression and violence in the community (Biglan, 2003). In this chapter, each hypothesis is discussed in the context of developmental patterns of aggression and violence.


Problem Behavior Antisocial Behavior Friendship Quality Oppositional Behavior Gang Membership 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology & Prevention Research CenterArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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