Personality Traits And Violence Essay

Length: 2 pages Sources: 2 Subject: Psychology Type: Essay Paper: #22724202 Related Topics: Multiple Personality Disorder, Personality Disorders, Personality, Aggressive Behavior
Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … Individuals Who May Become Violent

The headlines today are replete with anecdotal accounts of people described as "the quiet type" who then go on to commit inexplicable violent acts. Conversely, in other cases, violent acts are committed by people who are presciently described as "a bomb waiting to explode" Furthermore, it is also reasonable to suggest that virtually anyone can become violent under certain circumstances. To determine the facts, this paper provides a review of the relevant peer-reviewed literature concerning the characteristics of individuals who may become violent and a discussion concerning how these characteristics contribute to increased violence in those who are mentally ill. A summary of the research and important findings concerning predispositions to violence are provided in the conclusion.

Review and Discussion

There are a number of factors that can contribute to a predisposition to violence, including gender, personality traits such as impulsive-aggressive behaviors, marital status and various environmental stressors (Kumar & Rajmohan, 2013). For example, studies have shown that men are more likely to become violent than mental illness has been repeatedly documented as a contributing factor to violent episodes (Kumar & Rajmohan, 2013). Likewise, general anger levels and personality disorders have been repeatedly shown to be prevalent among violent men (Holzworth & Saunders, 2009).

It is important to note, though, that there are two fundamentally different types of violence, reactive violence and instrumental violence (Antonius & Sinclair, 2013). As the term implies, reactive violence is emotion-based and is usually a response to direct threats or provocations. This type of violent response may be justifiable and can even be legally protected. For instance, according to Black's Law Dictionary (1990), provocations such as "fighting words" can be legal cause for a violent response. In this regard, Black's defines "fighting words" as "The First Amendment doctrine that certain utterances are not constitutionally protected as free speech if they are inherently likely to provoke a violent response" (1990, p. 627). Reactive violence is most likely an isolated incident that will not repeat unless comparable circumstances present themselves again in the future (Antonius & Sinclair, 2013).

By very sharp contrast, instrumental violence is aggressive behavior that is "manipulative, callous, planned, and often motivated by goals" (Antonius & Sinclair 2013, p. 588). This type of violence is characterized by core…

Sources Used in Documents:


Antonius, D. & Sinclair, S.J. (2013, August 1). Assessing the heterogeneity of aggressive behavior traits: Exploratory and confirmatory analyses of the reactive and instrumental aggression personality assessment inventory (PAI) scales. Violence and Victims, 28(4),


Kumar, P.N. & Rajmohan, V. (2013, October-December). An exploratory analysis of personality factors contributed to suicide attempts. Indian Journal of Psychological

Medicine, 35(4), 378-383.

Cite this Document:

"Personality Traits And Violence" (2015, January 28) Retrieved January 20, 2022, from

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"Personality Traits And Violence", 28 January 2015, Accessed.20 January. 2022,

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