What is “heteroagression”? Causes and associated disorders

We call all these aggressive behaviors directed at other heteroaggressiveness. This includes physical assault, name calling, or more subtle ways of hurting another person. There are those who say that heteroagression is part of our nature and an inevitable part of the human experience that cannot be let go or let go.

Others claim that it is a product of acculturation and that it can be avoided. The riddle surrounding the origin of this type of behavior has given rise to many hypotheses, some more rigorous and scientific and others more judgmental.

Psychologists have studied this multifaceted phenomenon from different angles and have obtained different explanations that complement the question of what it is and why it occurs. We briefly explain what psychologists know about this form of aggression.

    What is heteroaggression?

    Heteroaggression refers to disposition, a tendency to react violently outward. We need to understand aggression as a strategy. Aggression, psychologically speaking, is a means to an end. So, Aggressive people are the most likely to use these types of strategies to achieve their goalsWhether tangible or emotional.

    We know that children who are aggressive from a young age are more likely to remain aggressive as they get older. We also know that heteroaggression is linked to poor impulse control. The most aggressive people, having trouble regulating their emotions and containing their most powerful emotional reactions, find it difficult not to get carried away by the anger they may feel in a frustrating situation.

    When we talk about emotional regulation and impulse control, it’s impossible not to talk about emotional education as well. One of the most obvious benefits of learning children to recognize and manage their emotions is greater control over their emotional lives and a greater ability to control themselves. This means that children who have difficulty dealing with negative emotions such as anger would have more tools to curb 1 heteroaggressiveness which might otherwise explode.

    What is the cause of heteroaggression?

    Then, if heteroaggression depends on impulse control already visible in young children, Is this a trait that is genetically transmitted?

    The answers in psychology are never that simple. Again, we have to talk about multifactorial causes. As we know that the best way to study adults is through children, let’s see what factors are involved in their development.

    1. Individual factors

    Individual factors in the explanation of heteroaggressiveness include prenatal factors, Characteristics associated with the sex and temperament of the child. For example, there are studies that attempt to link exposure to toxins during pregnancy and subsequent aggressive behavior. There are others who link low levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone to hetero-aggressive behavior.

    With regard to sex, we see that boys and girls have different hetero-aggressive behaviors. While boys opt more for some form of physical violence, girls tend to be more socially aggressive, that is, insulting or ignoring others. These differences in the forms of violence crystallize as children grow into their teenage years.

    Children with difficult temperaments are more likely to be aggressive towards others. Difficulties in emotional regulation, hypersensitivity to negative moods or intolerance to frustration are ingredients that provide excellent breeding ground for the birth of a heteroaggressive pattern of behavior.

    2. Parental factors

    It is impossible to talk about any aspect of an individual’s development without mentioning the influence of parenting style. and family aspects. A parenting style that is both too rigid and too lax can have consequences on the development of heteroaggression.

    An environment without rules or boundaries can give way to the expression of anger in a violent way, which is not tolerated in other social environments. Likewise, an authoritarian parenting style can generate frustration and contained anger which, in addition to being unhealthy, often explodes in adolescence in the form of hetero-aggressive behavior.

    Aggressive parenting models, such as the presence of a father or mother with a tendency to use physical violence to punish, validate aggression as a strategy. It is especially children with difficult temperaments who learn these strategies more quickly and get used to corporal punishment more quickly, to the point that it no longer works with them.

    3. Social factors

    With schooling and later the transition to adolescence, The role of the family is overshadowed by the influences exerted by the peer group. Being the victim of violent behavior or seeing others being aggressive are factors that predict the onset of heteroaggression. For example, boys and girls who grow up in more violent neighborhoods also tend to be more violent, not learning and knowing no other alternative.

    The effects of television on heteroaggression are limited. Television only affects aggression in individuals who were previously aggressive. The other children do not perform hetero-aggressive learning and do not acquire new violent fantasies. In addition, these effects disappear when children watch television accompanied by an adult who can guide them.

    Likewise, the content they see on the internet will not be harmful if there is an adult who actively monitors and is responsible for discussing any violent content that the child may have encountered.

    4. The condition

    The importance of the role of the condition deserves a few separate paragraphs. It is during the attachment process that the child learns to develop his emotional and behavioral self-regulation capacities. It is to be hoped that if the child, instead of receiving experiences of affection that help him to establish a loving relationship, is denied those experiences, an insecure attachment develops.

    In some cases, children form a special type of insecure attachment, the disorganized. These children are characterized by profound behavioral deregulation and uncontrolled reprimand. This is why we find that neglectful parents often have hetero-aggressive children.

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