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June 1969

Overview of the Causes and Prevention of Violence

Author Affiliations

Stanford, Calif
From the Department of Psychiatry, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1969;20(6):675-689. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1969.01740180059006

THE PURPOSE of this paper is to review the causes of violence and the various ways in which violence might be prevented or reduced. In doing this the theories of violence will be considered under three major categories: (1) aggression as an inherent part of human nature, (2) violence as a consequence of social learning, and (3) violence as a consequence of frustration and other situational factors. Recommendations as to the prevention of violence will be made explicit, and the feasibility and possible secondary consequences of such recommendations will be considered.

The Crisis of Violence.—Before continuing, several overriding questions must be dealt with: First, why control violence? After all, man has found it to be functional, as a means of adapting to his environment, throughout the ages. In regard to this question, a value judgment is being made—that maintenance of

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