What Are the Causes of Aggression in Adolescence?

Esther Ejim
Esther Ejim
Bullying is often rooted in low self-esteem.
Bullying is often rooted in low self-esteem.

The adolescent stage is one that is often fraught with uncertainty and confusion for a lot of teens as a result of the physical changes in their bodies, the chemical imbalances that result from unsteady hormones, and the reassessment of their role in the family and in the wider society. Such conflicting factors may contribute to the common outbursts of aggression that is a familiar phenomenon among some adolescents who do not know how to properly channel their confusion. Other factors that may contribute to aggression in adolescents include unhappy or abusive home situations, exposure to persistent violence, and other influences like provocation by others and low self-esteem.

Anu unhappy home situation may cause adolescent aggression.
Anu unhappy home situation may cause adolescent aggression.

Possible causes of aggression in adolescence are numerous and may be caused by any one factor or a combination of factors that may not be readily predictable. For example, the environment can play a huge role in the development and exhibition of aggression in adolescence. This is evident in the way an adolescent shows aggressive tendencies in one environment, while curbing the same behavior in another environment. Such a factor is not always the same since some adolescents are inherently prone to aggression as a result of their individual constitution rather than any external factor.

Adolescent aggression is often tied to other emotions including frustration and hopelessness.
Adolescent aggression is often tied to other emotions including frustration and hopelessness.

One cause of aggression in adolescence is the exposure to an abusive or unhappy home situation, which will cause such a person to lash out at others as a means of venting the suppressed emotions or frustrations from these factors. For instance, an adolescent with an abusive and alcoholic parent might in turn become aggressive in order to release some of the feelings of anger at such a situation. Another factor that may cause aggression in adolescence is a constant exposure to violence from various sources, including movies, news and games, which leads to a negative conditioning or desensitization of the individual to the norms of the society.

Victims of gossip often turn to more aggressive behaviors.
Victims of gossip often turn to more aggressive behaviors.

Some adolescents with very low self-esteem might also exhibit aggression in an attempt to cover their perceived inadequacies form others, especially their peers. This anger is often at the root of bullying, where the bully derives some kind of perverse pleasure from trying to make others feel as miserable as he or she secretly feels. Another factor that could be the cause of aggression in adolescence is the general state or immaturity of this particular group of people who are still in the process of understanding how to relate to others in a more mature and controlled manner.

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    • Bullying is often rooted in low self-esteem.
      By: micromonkey
      Bullying is often rooted in low self-esteem.
    • Anu unhappy home situation may cause adolescent aggression.
      By: BlueSkyImages
      Anu unhappy home situation may cause adolescent aggression.
    • Adolescent aggression is often tied to other emotions including frustration and hopelessness.
      By: gemenacom
      Adolescent aggression is often tied to other emotions including frustration and hopelessness.
    • Victims of gossip often turn to more aggressive behaviors.
      By: Rido
      Victims of gossip often turn to more aggressive behaviors.
    • Adolescents who are abused by their parents or relatives may become more aggressive toward peers.
      By: stefanolunardi
      Adolescents who are abused by their parents or relatives may become more aggressive toward peers.
    • Some people argue that exposure to persistent violence can contribute to aggressive adolescents.
      By: goodapp
      Some people argue that exposure to persistent violence can contribute to aggressive adolescents.
    • If aggression is left untreated in adolescence, it can lead to more violent outbursts later in life.
      By: Anatoly Tiplyashin
      If aggression is left untreated in adolescence, it can lead to more violent outbursts later in life.
    • Feelings of isolation and rejection can cause adolescent aggression.
      By: Monkey Business
      Feelings of isolation and rejection can cause adolescent aggression.
    • Aggression may cause a battle for dominance in social circles.
      By: Photographee.eu
      Aggression may cause a battle for dominance in social circles.