What Causes Violence In Teenagers And Young Adults?

Adolescence and youth is a unique time, not only because we only go through it once, but also because of what it means. We are entering preparation for adult life and many of the worlds that are opening up are new and exciting. Like love relationships. It is at these ages when we begin to be romantically interested in other people and relationships different from those we had established until then begin.

However, these relationships are not exempt in some cases of physical or verbal aggression, unfortunately. At these critical ages, it is important to know the factors that can promote violence in adolescent and young couples, so that it can be remedied before the problem escalates.

“For a world where we are socially equal, humanly different and totally free”

-Luxembourg Pink-

Sociocultural factors that promote violence in adolescent and youth partners

Among the many variables that can increase the risk of violence occurring or increasing in adolescent and young couples , those of a social and cultural nature must be taken into account. The reality is that a good part of society still sees violence as a valid instrument to achieve a goal, while there is another part where, fortunately, sensitivity is increasing and condemning it more unanimously.  

Furthermore, the traditional cultural beliefs that mark and separate the roles of men and women imply that the former tend to exercise violence and the latter to excuse them. In this way, tolerant attitudes towards sexist violence and female victimization can be fostered.

Despite this, analyzing the relationship patterns between young people and adolescents, we also find violent behaviors in girls, although these decrease in adulthood. They would use this type of behavior to manage insecurity and anger, while boys would do it to reaffirm their masculinity and to exert control over the other person.

“I encourage all men and boys everywhere to join us. Gender violence will not be eradicated until all of us refuse to tolerate it “

-Ban Ki-Moon-

The interpersonal factors that lead to violence in adolescents and youth partners

Regarding interpersonal factors, it is worth highlighting those that affect the family and the peer group. Traditionally, it has been assumed that, when situations of abuse have occurred in the family nucleus (either in the partner or towards the children), it is easier for violence to be exercised in the couples of adolescents and young people. On the other hand, what research tells us that “only” a third of abusers have this type of background.

Due to these data, the exposure and observation of this type of behavior in the partners of their groups of friends has also begun to be taken into account. When this happens, the cultural idea that violence is justified and sometimes necessary is perpetuated. This is so because people are within a social group, important to them, that validates (or at least does not condemn) violent behavior.

The personal factors that lead to violence in adolescents and young couples

Finally, it is necessary to take into account the personal factors that influence the violence against adolescents and young people. A condition to keep in mind is whether aggression has already been used in previous relationships, which increases the probability that it will happen again.

On the other hand, more risk factors have been found along this line. The attachment insecure, jealousy, dependence, impulsivity I lack social skills to deal with conflict are some of them. Alcohol and drug abuse can also play a role in this problem.

The reality is that, like most sets of behaviors that we can encompass, violence in adolescents and young adults is a complex phenomenon. It is not a single factor that causes it, but the true risk usually appears when the interaction or the sum of several of them occurs. Precisely, for this reason, it is important to develop prevention programs that work in all the areas involved and prevent violence from appearing, validating and ending up being normalized.

“Violence is the last resort of the incompetent”

-Isaac Asimov-

Images courtesy of Adrian Sava, Alexis Brown, and Tr N Toan.

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