Conflict, aggression and gender
Does violence beget violence? This has been an essential question among a large body of work within social psychology, which examines whether exposure to violence, especially during childhood and adolescence, can predict consequent aggressive behaviour. The results have been indicative, though often confusing and contradictory. This chapter focusses on this violent environment-experience-aggressive behaviour link and re-examines this line of thought from the lens of gender. Also, pro-violent attitudes have previously been found to accentuate aggressive behaviour in conflict contexts. But findings from this research showed that individuals who seemed to agree with the use of violence were less likely to exhibit physical aggression when exposed to direct violence vis-à-vis those who did not endorse militant or violent methods. This seemingly unnatural result has been analyzed with respect to the mechanisms of coping that individuals in contexts of protracted conflict use to safeguard their senses of self from an uncertain, unpredictable and threatening environment. It also points towards the role of political ideology and collective mobilization that can help in buffering the negative outcomes of conflict.