What do you think causes violence at school?

Violence at school - causes, manifestations and prevention options

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2. Definitions
2.1. aggression
2.2. anxiety
2.3. violence
2.4. Prevention

3. Causes and moderators for aggression and violence (condition factors for aggressive student behavior)
3.1. Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis
3.2. The learning theory
3.3. Socialization theories
3.4. Drive and instinct theoretical explanatory model of aggressive behavior
3.5. Genetic factors
3.6. Moderators
3.6.1. School structural problem areas
3.6.2. Depiction of violence in the media
3.6.3. Family influences

4. Forms and dimensions of aggression and violence
4.1. Typing of young people with regard to their willingness to use violence
4.2. The concept of violence from a subjective point of view - can one also use verbal violence?
4.3. Violence against students and violence against things
4.4. Violence against teachers
4.5. School type-specific differences
4.6. Gender and age-specific differences
4.7. Other differences

5. Depiction of school violence in the media

6. Prevention options and measures with regard to aggression and violence
6.1. Measures at the school level
6.2. Action at the class level
6.3. Measure at the individual level

7. Summary and Outlook

8. Bibliography

9. Written insurance

The diploma thesis was prepared according to the rules of the new German spelling. Quotations that were taken from sources that were written according to the preceding orthographic rules are an exception to this.

In order to make it easier to read, the masculine form is usually used when designating people. However, male and female persons are meant.

1 Introduction

When the 19-year-old Robert Steinhäuser, a little more than three years ago, shot 13 teachers, two students, a police officer and then himself on the morning of April 26, 2002 at his former school, the Johannes-Gutenberg-Gymnasium in Erfurt , this shocked Germany. After all, this act was the worst increase in school violence that could be assumed in our country to date. However, according to some journalists who published articles in print media with a high circulation, this "rampage in Erfurt", as it was called in many newspapers, was not as unexpected as some high-ranking politicians in particular suggested. Since the beginning of the 1990s, the topic of “violence in school” has been increasingly taken up by the media, presumably as a consequence of the general discussion of violence in connection with xenophobic acts of violence (e.g. Hoyerswerda, Mölln, Rostock)[1], which have a lasting influence on public opinion and put this topic in the focus of this public ("Even in 1989 people were still talking about" aggressive students "and" disciplinary difficulties ", but not about" violence in schools. " but also in Germany a flood of publications on this topic. "[2]). In other European countries, however, this discussion began ten years earlier. At the end of 1982 a Norwegian newspaper reported that three 10-14 year old youths from Northern Norway had very likely committed suicide as a result of severe violence by their peers. This started a chain reaction that led to a nationwide campaign against the problem of violence in Norwegian schools.[3] However, especially after the rampage in Erfurt, this discussion intensified in Germany as well; While some even identified “American conditions” in German schools, others spoke of a tragic singular event from which a symptomatic illustration of the image of violence in German schools cannot be inferred.[4] The subject of this discussion was also the possible causes for such behavior, with computer games and films glorifying violence being quickly attributed a major culprit by many.

However, if you want to deal in detail with the subject of “violence”, especially “violence in school”, the central terms used must first be specified in more detail. What does the term violence actually mean? Does this mean only physical violence or also psychological violence? Can damage to property and vandalism also be regarded as violence in this sense? The question of what is meant by aggression and fear and how these terms relate to violence also needs to be clarified in advance. This should be discussed in more detail in Section 2.

Another question that arises is what causes violent behavior. Is such behavior innate or is it learned in the course of upbringing? Is it due to socialization or is it an expression of frustration that leads to violence? These questions should be explored in detail in section 3. It should also be discussed whether each of these theories can explain violent behavior alone, or whether several hypotheses also work together and in this case can increase the likelihood of later delinquency. Possible moderators who influence the strength of a possible connection should also be discussed here. In this context, some important problem areas related to the school structure are to be addressed in more detail. But the depiction of violence in the media, already briefly touched upon above, and its influence on the later behavior of children and adolescents should also be examined. Finally, possible family influences should also be presented in this context.

After the definition and delimitation of the central terms, as well as a discussion of possible causes and the consideration of various moderators for aggression and violence, the manifestations and dimensions of aggression and violence will be dealt with in section 4 of this work. In addition to typing the adolescents with regard to their willingness to use violence, not only the question of the manifestations but also the frequency with which violent behavior comes to light in German schools should be answered. This should also be illustrated by a series of figures from studies that have dealt with this topic. First, the violence between the students (physical and psychological violence) is discussed in more detail, and then the violence against teachers is also presented. In addition to the type and frequency of aggression and violence, there is also the question of whether there are school-type or gender-specific differences in this regard, which should then be researched. Expressly Not However, the areas of right-wing extremism / xenophobia as well as the special form of violence "mobbing" or "bullying" should be addressed.[5], because these are special forms with regard to the causes and manifestations of violence, and on the other hand, this would go far beyond the quantitative framework of the work.

Another important aspect is the very detailed presentation of the topic of “violence” and especially violent acts in schools in the media. However, this does not seem too surprising: hardly any topic affects us more directly, “stirs up feelings such as fear, disgust , Powerlessness, but also anger and power fantasies are as strong as the subject of violence. "[6] However, violence in German schools has actually increased both quantitatively and qualitatively, or the special attention that is paid to this phenomenon in the media and in public has contributed to the fact that “our horror is also reflected in our increased sensitivity and perception could have increased and is therefore greater than the actual phenomenon ”?[7] This consideration should be examined in more detail in section 5.

After describing possible causes, as well as the manifestations and dimensions of aggression and violent acts in German schools, the question of the optimal prevention and the correct and appropriate intervention naturally arises. How should teachers behave towards violent students and how can they behave in advance, that is before violent acts have been committed at all. Therefore, in Section 6, various, frequently discussed possible solutions in this regard are shown in detail.

The thesis should then end with a summary of the central points, as well as an outlook regarding the development of violence in German schools.

2. Definitions

Before the actual entry into the subject takes place, key terms such as “aggression”, “fear”, “violence” and “prevention” should be limited and defined, as these are often differently broadly understood in everyday language and especially the two The first-mentioned terms are often used synonymously. Since these terms are of course not only used in connection with school violence, a certain level of abstraction cannot be fallen below.

2.1. aggression

The word aggression is derived from the Latin verb "aggredere", which has three different meanings:

1. approach, go, turn to someone, concern them

- seek to win
- seek to bribe

2. Attack

3. undertake, begin, try to get on with something (work).

In its Latin origin, this term includes two different aspects: On the one hand, it means approaching someone, wanting to win, which implies positive characteristics such as "confident", "energetic", "determined" and strong-willed ". On the other hand, it also means attacking directly, which includes negative behaviors such as "argumentative", "dominant", "loud" or "inconsiderate". In all meanings, however, the goal-directedness of the action, the behavior, is clear. In German, on the other hand, the meaning of the word aggression no longer contains directionality, the focus here is on the destructive, the destructive.[8] Under aggression, therefore, all behaviors should be subsumed, which have the goal of individuals or things being active and targeted damageto weaken or scare you.[9] The central feature is always the intention to damage the Perpetrator.[10] It seems important here to point out that the person concerned, i.e. the perpetrator, also behaves with certain behaviors against yourself can turn, which also falls under the term aggression. This ranges from “biting your lip” to extreme cases (as with Robert Steinhäuser after his rampage in Erfurt) suicide.

Björkqvist, Lagerspetz and Kaukiainen distinguished four different manifestations of aggressive behavior in a group of 15-year-old boys and girls:

- "Direct physical aggression" (punching, pushing, kicking, etc.)
- "Indirect aggression" (talking badly about others, spreading malicious rumors)
- "Direct verbal aggression" (insulting someone)
- "Withdrawal" (pretending not to know the other person or sulking).

New research findings in developmental psychology show that aggressive behavior, regardless of the form, is probably the most difficult behavior to change[11] (About half of aggressive children maintain this behavior for several years), which can continue from childhood to adulthood. Positive relationships between aggressive behavior in childhood and criminal behavior in later adolescence and adulthood indicate that aggression can lead to delinquent behavior.[12]

Although the term aggression, as mentioned above, has a negative connotation in German usage, healthy aggression is still necessary "so that people can develop, explore their environment and defend themselves and themselves."[13]

It is very important to point out in this context that the motivation from which aggression ultimately results can be very different. This becomes evident when comparing the following behaviors: rape, food stealing, robbery, self-defense. In the case of rape, sex or the striving for dominance, in the case of food theft, hunger, in the case of robbery, the pursuit of possession and in self-defense, the reduction of fear are the (very likely) underlying motivations (on, even existing, aggressions that can, and should, be traced back to pathological disorders are deliberately not discussed in the following, as this would go beyond the quantitative framework of this work, and on the other hand, only in a fraction of the cases in which aggressive behavior is observed by students is the underlying cause).[14]

2.2. anxiety

Those who deal with the aggressiveness as personal and social If you want to occupy yourself with the phenomenon, you cannot avoid dealing with the associated fear, because dealing with aggression (be it your own or that of others) frightens you. This can be seen, for example, in the fact that adults rarely dare to spontaneously join forces to intervene in criminal offenses and to help the victim. This state of affairs is often referred to as the increasing “mentality of looking the other way” and the plea is immediately for more moral courage in our society. But such a state also reflects the fear of being aggressive both Sides reflected. On the one hand there is the fear of the children and adolescents who are trying to get under control of an aggressive defense against their fear and on the other hand the fear of society, i.e. of the adults and the parents, who also feel overwhelmed due to the latently perceptible fear. This also becomes clear, especially after the reporting of serious crimes in the media, in the almost reflexively expressed demand of many citizens of the politicians for tougher laws with "harsher" punishments and special police units: These should deal with the problem of violence in public and thus move such conflicts away from the citizens and keep them away.[15]

The term itself is derived from the Latin word "angustia" and in its original form has the meaning of narrowness, brevity, limitation. In some textbooks, fear is demarcated from fear. Accordingly, one speaks of fear when a source of danger is clearly identified, such as fear of the beating father. Fear, on the other hand, is spoken of when the stimulus constellation is ambiguous and the person concerned has difficulty reacting adequately and purposefully to the subjectively perceived threat, as this cannot be localized. In the following, however, these two terms will be used synonymously, as in the majority of publications on this topic.[16]

But how is fear actually triggered? Fürntratt (1974) distinguishes between three different types:

- direct Fear triggered by the occurrence of a unconditional Anxiety stimuli such as physical blows, pain stimuli or sudden noise
- direct Fear triggered by the occurrence of a conditional Anxiety stimuli, such as threats of aggression or signals announcing pain (the sound of the drill at the dentist, etc.)
- indirect Fear triggered by the disappearance (or absence) of a (subjective) safety stimulus, such as the termination of physical contact or the loss of a loved one through death or separation.[17]

While the conditioned fear-inducing stimuli usually play a far greater role in adults (competition in professional life, test anxiety, etc.) than the unconditional ones, the two facets of direct fear-inducing stimuli play an equally important role in the subject of "violence at school", while indirect fear-inducing stimuli Stimuli in this context and therefore in the following can be neglected.[18]

2.3. violence

“Violence must be separated from the concept of aggression. Violence is a Part of aggression, but can also establish itself completely detached from it internally and in behavior. "[19] In German usage, the term violence is difficult to narrow down and encompasses various phenomena. Even in the Criminal Code of the Federal Republic of Germany, the term violence is not defined expressis verbis, although here it is in close conceptual proximity to the offense of coercion (Section 240).[20]

In the following, violence is to be understood, based on Stickelmann (1996), to mean the attempted or actual violation of psychological or physical integrity (intactness). Violence appears to be directed against persons or objects, or as structural violence by institutions. A distinction is made between

- physical violence, e.g. B. Fixation, hitting among students and the teacher by the students
- psychological and verbal violence, e.g. B. Insult or obscene gestures
- and structural violence. Structural violence in the school context is understood to be violence caused by the school as an institution is exercised. This includes, for example, the ban on eating and drinking during the lesson or the fact that all students in a class should learn the same thing at the same time.[21] Structural violence is only to be addressed within the scope of this work, however, insofar as it is asked whether it is a moderator for the likelihood of violent acts occurring by students (Section 3.6.1.). The structural violence emanating from the school as an institution should not be understood in this context in the sense of the title of this work, “Violence in schools”.

While physical and psychological acts of violence are referred to as personal or direct violence (since these forms of violence are exercised by a direct actor), structural violence is referred to as indirect violence, since this form of violence is not exercised by a direct (personal) actor .

In contrast to the term “aggression” or “aggressive behavior”, the term violence cannot easily be related to specific modes of behavior. In the following, however, preference should be given to the term “violence”, as this can also occur completely independently of aggression (for example in the form of the structural violence discussed above) and because of this some aspects of violence are excluded a priori.

"By delimiting the phenomenon of" violence "to the school area, it must not be assumed that the causes and causes of acts of violence are always to be sought in the school area."[22] This aspect should therefore be given greater attention in the next main section (4.). It should also be considered here what the students themselves understand violence and how they categorize the various facets of violence. This is important because the pupils' concept of violence does not completely coincide with the above definition in some areas.

2.4. Prevention

The term “prevention” is derived from the Latin verb “praevenio” and translates as “to anticipate”. This means the prevention and prevention of violent acts. Appropriate preventive measures (which should be presented in detail in Section 6) should prevent violence in the school in the first place. These measures can take place collectively (i.e. in class). This is to be distinguished from the "intervention". Also derived from the Latin word "intervenio" (coming in between, stepping in between), this is understood to mean immediate (corrective) intervention when violent acts are or have been committed. Such measures, also known as secondary intervention, must be carried out individually, i.e. related to the respective student and his or her social environment.

3. Causes of aggression and violence (condition factors for aggressive student behavior)

After narrowing down the most important terms within the scope of this work, the question of the causes of violent behavior in the school environment will now be investigated. There are a number of different hypotheses and theories that should be shown. Another question that arises in this context is whether these approaches contradict one another and have to be viewed separately from one another, or whether some of these condition factors complement one another and can better predict violent behavior than an isolated consideration of the individual hypotheses. Furthermore, a number of possible moderators for violent behavior, such as school structure problem areas, the representation of violence in the media, as well as family influences, are to be considered. Such moderators are not responsible for violent behavior, but they can reinforce the link between the conditioning factors and the likelihood of abnormal behavior occurring.

In a study in Hamburg, the students named the following conditions and causes of violent behavior by students:

1. Violence in the media (the stronger one shows no ethics and always prevails)
2. Neglect at home
3. Causes in the school system itself (increase in anonymity and pressure to perform, decrease in the authority of teachers)
4. Different social values ​​and norms (this also included problems by and with foreign citizens)[23]

But first to the most common scientific hypotheses and theories regarding the causes of violence:

3.1. Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis

This hypothesis was postulated at the end of the 1930s and basically assumes for many phenomena of human behavior that these behaviors are learned.

In the context of this model, violence is explained as the result of frustration, feelings of powerlessness and fear and as a reaction to unsatisfactory needs.[24] Frustration is the emotion that arises when one is prevented from carrying out an intended action or a desired goal. This hypothesis assumes that any frustration creates aggression. In the context of this attempted explanation, aggression serves to give the respective individual the strength to still achieve the originally intended goal of action. A distinction is made between four areas of frustration: obstacles, failures, harmful stimuli and deficiencies. The aggression built up as a result, in turn, causes an increased likelihood of violent behavior, which is also favored by the inability to verbally resolve conflicts. In the context of frustration with failure, for example, bad grades in the school context can lead to aggression building up in the student concerned, which can then lead to outbreaks and pressure through violent behavior. The resulting aggression can also be shifted to a (weaker) substitute goal, such as "scapegoats" or marginalized groups, which are not the actual source of the frustration. While violent behavior towards the teacher who gave the bad grades would result in a corresponding punishment, bad students react violently towards the top of the class, because according to this hypothesis, he / she then acts as a “substitute scapegoat” on which the Conveys aggression. The transmission of aggression does not necessarily have to take place only to other people, it can also relate to things and be expressed in vandalism. In the context of this frustration-aggression hypothesis, frustrating previous experiences as well as the duration and intensity of the respective frustration also play an important role.[25]

An attempt, which has already been carried out several times to support this theory, should be briefly described at this point. A group of kindergarten children was brought into a room with lots of attractive games and they were allowed to play for a certain period of time. The children were very busy and immersed in their games. After a while, the researchers and supervisors interrupted the children's play and took away the attractive toys. However, the toys were placed behind a grid so that they could still be seen by the children. During the subsequent observation of the children, some of them showed aggressive behavior patterns after a short time in that they began to scold and / or kicked the bars behind which the toy was located. So it was found in this experiment that aggression a possible Can be an effect of frustration.

However, this hypothesis could not be declared generally valid in a large number of further empirical experiments. Previous frustration was not always a necessary or sufficient condition to trigger aggression. Depression can also be the result, for example, as a result of frustration instead of aggression.

Therefore, this construct underwent some modifications in the years that followed. The most important assumption that changed due to this criticism was that every frustration becomes a Tilt of aggression leads. This tendency can then, but does not have to, provoke this and violent behavior. Under certain circumstances, such a induced tendency can be too weak to induce aggression. Conversely, this tendency can also be increased by unfavorable factors in the student's environment (at this point, reference should be made to section 3.6 of this work).[26]

Another serious criticism of this hypothesis is the objection that aggressive behavior can also be learned and does not require any previous frustration.

3.2. The learning theory

For this reason, in addition to the aggression-frustration theory, learning theory is also used to explain aggression and violent behavior. There are a number of approaches to this, the most important of which is the social-cognitive theory, which goes back to Albert Bandura (born 1925). Here violence is “the result of one learned Behavioral model that has either proven to be successful or to which no viable alternative has (yet) been established "[27] explained. In the context of model learning, it is assumed that aggressive behavior is acquired and maintained through learning. The learning theory is based on two decisive learning processes: reinforcement and model learning. In this context, learning is generally understood to mean the relatively permanent change in the behavioral possibilities of an individual based on information. Learning is done on the models of the environment (i.e. on parents, siblings, teachers, peers, role models, etc.). Whether, and if so, to what extent aggressive behavior can also be learned through television, videos / DVDs and other media, is discussed in Section 3.6.2. to be determined. These models of the environment can reinforce aggressive behavior in three different ways:

- You can see the behavior of the child reinforce positively. The child thereby achieves a certain desired goal. For example, through the recognition of aggressive behavior by peers ("Great, but you gave it to him", etc.), an immaterial reward and thus positive (social) reinforcement.
- In the negative reinforcement If the child succeeds in avoiding or eliminating unpleasant or threatening events through his aggressive and violent behavior (e.g. nobody dares attack the child anymore), which in turn experiences a kind of reward. For this reason, this form of reinforcement is often referred to as avoidance learning in the literature. It should be noted in this context that both the positive and the negative reinforcement achieve their best effect when they follow the behavior directly.[28]
- But also through toleration aggressive behavior can be reinforced (tolerance should not be confused with ignorance). Is inactive for the behavior of the children (especially by parents, teachers or other educators) watched, this can be interpreted by the children as tacit consent, which increases the likelihood of aggressive behavior patterns occurring and these are shown again and again.

Instead of the immediate reward that the child experiences by exercising certain behavioral patterns, however, vicarious experience (and reinforcement) through the observation of models (e.g. parents, friends, etc.) is sufficient.[29] Experienced z. If, for example, a child shows that one of his siblings shows aggressive behavior when it is instructed by the mother to tidy up his room and then the mother gives in, it has made representative experience that such behavior leads to this task, which is perceived as unpleasant "escape". It is similar with a child who constantly experiences that contradictions or a dissenting opinion are broken with violence. They internalize this principle very quickly and will soon try out this strategy in the areas in which it seems possible (e.g. in school).[30]

Albert Bandura and a team of researchers were able to impressively confirm the theory of model learning 40 years ago in a study, as in the example above, with kindergarten children, which will be briefly presented below due to its importance. As part of this experiment, 96 kindergarten children aged 3-5 years were divided into four different groups, who had different experiences for ten minutes:

- Group A: Observation of an actively aggressive adult
- Group B: Observation of the same active-aggressive adult in a film
- Group C: Observation of a character costumed as a cat from a cartoon with typical movements and the same aggressive behavior
- Group D: Control group without perception of an aggressive model.

“The aggressive behavior of the model in groups A to C consisted of forms of hostility, novel for children, towards a large play doll, e. For example, sit on the doll and beat it with a stick, throw it in the air and kick it across the room, accompanied by correspondingly aggressive expressions such as "Knock it down!"[31] Thereupon the children of all groups were brought into a room in which there were only few attractive toys - including the play doll against which the aggressions of the models had been directed. The children's behavior was then observed for 20 minutes. The children in groups A, B, and C showed almost twice as many aggressive acts (and often exactly the same as those in the model) as the children assigned to group D (control group).[32] The children in groups A-C had learned the aggressive behavior through observation.

It should also be mentioned at this point that, in contrast to the attempt to explain the frustration-aggression hypothesis, learning on the model is about one cognitive Learning process acts as the individual acquires new behaviors (consciously or unconsciously) or modifies already existing behaviors accordingly.

However, the learning theory stands Not in contradiction to the frustration-aggression hypothesis discussed above. For example, a pupil can learn and acquire aggressive behavior by observing corresponding models (for example fights between pupils of the same age in the school yard) and then show them as a result of a previous frustration (such as bad grades) by applying the resulting aggression to one Scapegoat, such as the best in class or a physically weaker classmate "discharges".

3.3. Socialization theories

Socialization theories explain violent behavior "as the interaction of socialization factors, all of which result in social uprooting and thus disorientation for the individual."[33] Violent behavior is therefore the result of a faulty upbringing in the first years of childhood. In contrast to the frustration-aggression hypothesis but in accordance with learning theory, the causes of violent behavior in socialization theories are therefore primarily to be found in the parents' home and in the social environment of the students concerned. Such socialization deficits occur above all if a permanent caregiver is missing in childhood and / or if no basic trust has been established during this period of development. But also wrong upbringing methods, hard-heartedness or excessive pampering (i.e. if the child has been shown too narrow or no limits) can lead to unsuccessful socialization.[34] Olweus (2002) therefore rightly states "that too little love and care and too much" freedom "in childhood are prerequisites for an aggressive reaction pattern to develop strongly."[35] For example, if a child has never learned that conflicts can be resolved verbally instead of through violence, it cannot be expected that they will not use violence in school if a conflict arises. A lack of socialization processes also results in social disorientation in children and adolescents. This is being reinforced by our pluralistic and progress-oriented media society. For some students, the time and content grids of television and video films provide the dominant and often only orientation pattern.Against this background, violent behavior by children and adolescents must be understood as social follow-up behavior. Deficits and injuries in emotional development can also be reflected in such behavior.[36]

The fact that, according to the socialization theories, the causes of violent behavior are to be found exclusively in the parents' home of the pupils concerned, should not be understood to mean that the “child has already fallen into the well” and the institution of school is therefore no longer corrective could intervene. Such teaching of moral-cognitive judgment competences should therefore be dealt with in more detail in the context of the question of possibilities for prevention (Section 6).

3.4. Drive and instinct theoretical explanatory model of aggressive behavior

The drive and instinct theoretical explanatory model of aggressive behavior assumes that this is both innate and species-specific. The main proponent of this theory was the animal researcher and ethologist Konrad Lorenz (1903-1989). Based on a large number of animal observations, he took the view that aggression in humans is mainly to be assessed as a self- and species-preserving instinct. Aggressions that occur within society served the social order, i.e. the establishment or change of an existing power hierarchy, according to Lorenz. He further argued that, in contrast to most animal species, the anti-aggression strategy of gratification has been lost in humans, since humans are more willing to fatally injure a conspecific.[37] The fact that someone who is lying on the ground is often stepped on further should support this thesis. According to Lorenz, every person has an innate energy potential in the area of ​​aggression, which is always newly formed when it is used up. In today's social systems, there are fewer and fewer opportunities for the individual to channel this innate potential for aggression - at the same time, however, the stimuli that trigger aggression are increasing more and more. In the case of some people who do not succeed in reducing the aggression potential built up in them in good time or regularly, this can result in sudden and disproportionate discharges (e.g. in a rampage). "Particularly in those socially disadvantaged groups, the opportunity to reduce the pent-up aggression is less [...]."[38]

However, there is no convincing evidence for the drive and instinct theoretic explanatory model of aggressive behavior. Probably it cannot be assumed that humans have a primary innate endowment with a certain aggression potential. With the current state of research, it is true that aggression cannot be completely ruled out partially can be traced back to an internal drive, but it cannot be generally postulated that aggressions are always based on internal drives.[39]

3.5. Genetic factors

For about ten years there has been an increasing discussion about the role of genetic factors, in the sense of chromosome deviations, in the development of aggression, since a familial accumulation of aggressive behavior has often been observed. For example, parents of children with a conduct disorder, by accident, often have a similar history in their past.[40]

The theory of a “born criminal” or a violent criminal, however, is by no means new. It goes back to the Italian doctor Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909), who based the laws of inheritance discovered by Johann Mendel during this time. Lombroso was of the opinion that the typical criminal could be recognized from birth by invariable externalities, such as the size of the ears, the length of the nose or the distance between the eyebrows.[41]

According to the current state of research, however, the influence of genetic factors seems to be much less than assumed. Findings from a study from 1992 "indicate a differential influence of genetic factors depending on the socio-economic status."[42] The higher the social class to which the young people belonged, the more genetic influences determined their aggressive behavior. In contrast to this, the social behavior of young people from disadvantaged groups was particularly influenced by negative environmental influences.


[1] see Busch / Todt, 2001, p. 226

[2] Tillmann, 1995, p. 180

[3] see Olweus, 2002, p. 15f

[4] see Bundesverband der Unfallkassen (Ed.), 2005, p. 4

[5] Bullying is understood to be continuously planned actions with the aim of social exclusion for personal gain between individuals and / or groups. The term bullying is used when a person is the target of hostile and systematic attacks, often over a long period of time, at work or at school. (Source: http://www.schule-bw.de/unterricht/paedagogik/gewaltpraevention/kbuero/problembereich.html from May 3rd, 2005)

[6] Hurrelmann, 1996, p. 8

[7] Schulte-Markwort, 1994, p. 11

[8] see Schulte-Markwort, 1994, p. 16

[9] see Fürntratt, 1974, p. 283

[10] see Petermann / Warschburger, 1999, p. 127

[11] see Sobczyk, no year, p. 2

[12] see Petermann / Warschburger, 1999, p. 127ff

13 Schulte-Markwort, 1994, p. 82

[14] see Edelmann, 2000, p. 85

15 see Schulte-Markwort, 1994, p. 146

[16] see Edelmann, 2000, p. 43

[17] see Fürntratt, 1974, p. 47f

[18] see Edelmann, 2000, p. 44

[19] see Schulte-Markwort, 1994, p. 16

[20] see Rixius, 1996, p. 159

[21] see Stickelmann, 1996, p. 7ff

[22] Hurrelmann, 1996, p. 13

[23] Horn, 1997, p. 27

24 Schirp, 1996, p. 29

[25] see Schulte-Markwort, 1994, p. 79

[26] see Zimbardo and Gerrig, 1999, p. 337

27 Schirp, 1996, p. 30

[28] see Edelmann, 2000, p. 77

[29] see Petermann / Warschburger, 1999, p. 137f

[30] see Schulte-Markwort, 1994, p. 109

[31] Edelmann, 2000, p. 189

[32] see Tausch R./Tausch A.M., 1973, p. 52

[33] Hurrelmann, 1996, p. 30

[34] see Ostendorf, not a year

[35] Olweus, 2002, p. 49

[36] see Hurrelmann, 1996, p. 31f

37 see Zimbardo and Gerrig, 1999, p. 335

[38] Schulte-Markwort, 1994, p. 82

[39] see Schulte-Markwort, 1994, p. 81f

[40] see Schulte-Markwort, 1994, p 137

[41] see Ostendorf, not a year

[42] Schulte-Markwort, 1994, p. 137

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