Thursday, August 31, 2006

Violent Kids: Send Them to Church

The results of this study should surprise no one. (This is a 2001 article, so the info. is old, by the way). In a nutshell:

  1. Kids exposed to violence are more likely to use violence to solve a problem.
  2. Kids who regularly go to church are less aggressive and violent.
That second point ends the Psychology Today article, but to me, it's the most important point: a structured church environment and the teachings provided help ameliorate youth aggression even if they see the violence at home.

DuRant's study found that the greater the subjects' exposure to violence, the more likely they were to engage in violent behavior. "They see others winning conflicts by using violence. As a result of that modeling, they choose to use those same behaviors," he says. And just as in the Canadian study, high levels of depression were associated with violent behaviors.

In addition, children who attended church regularly were generally less violent than non-churchgoers. By engaging in positive social activities, DuRant speculates, it's possible that schoolyard bullies would be better-equipped to respond positively to difficult situations. "If they're victims of severe corporal punishment, if they witness their mothers being hit, there's very little you can do from a policy standpoint to change that," says Durant. "But what we want to do is influence their response to those exposures and teach them positive ways to deal with conflict."

I did some research into Dr. DuRant's background: for what it's worth, he says that teens watching Professional Wrestling ups dating violence. Of course, that might be true, too. Let a bunch of ten year old boys watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and watch what happens. Or, older guys watching the SuperBowl. The ER is filled with sauced up, carb-laden middle-aged men with knee and ankle injuries from getting out there and re-enacting the game.

Note: To the editors at Psychology Today and other online news organizations, please put links to the actual research in your articles or an interview with the research at least. Oy, it took me fifteen minutes of looking to verify the research.

1 comment:

Society said...

I'll bet that females watching soap opera on teevee also "ups dating violence" - ever notice how often the females in those daytime dramas hit men? Where's the studies on that?

Oh, I forgot, on Dr. DuRant's planet of the college-educated, the women's studies approved belief is that her violence isn't really violence. It's cute! Only his violence is really violent. Sheesh!

BTW, neither the Super Bowl nor World Cup soccer matches increases domestic violence by men (the jury is still out on whether DV by females rises during sports matches - sexists won't research that.)