Officer attitudes towards intra-group aggression in young people and young adults: Does the reported motivation of an aggressor impact on intervention and support?

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Abstract

The present study aims to assess whether global and context specific attitudes influence the ability to correctly identify the motivation for aggression and selection of appropriate intervention strategies. A sample of 105 prison officers completed a measure assessing global attitudes towards prisoners, one assessing context specific attitudes towards aggression, and also a case vignette. Officers were asked to consider the motivation for aggression and to select an appropriate intervention. It was predicted that sex, age and level of experience would impact on global and context specific attitudes. Officers expressing positive global attitudes and non-aggressive context specific attitudes were expected to be more able to identify the motivation for aggression and more likely to adopt a rehabilitative approach. There was evidence to indicate sex differences in global and context specific attitudes but no impact of age. Level of experience of aggression impacted both on global and context specific attitudes. Global or context specific attitudes did not influence the ability to interpret aggression, but aggression type did. Limitations and directions for future research are discussed.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309–316
JournalInternational Journal of Law and Psychiatry
Volume34
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sep 2011