chapter  18
21 Pages

Development of aggression and its linkages with violence and juvenile delinquency

ByWillem Koops, Bram Orobio de Castro

There are good reasons to consider adolescence as a recent historical discovery, or cultural invention (Koops & Zuckerman, 2003). Jean Jacques Rousseau (1763) was the first author after the Middle Ages who wrote about adolescence and Stanley Hall (1904) extended the basic ideas of Rousseau into a multidisciplinary classical (hand)book that more or less shaped current modern ideas about adolescence. In the Rousseau-Stanley Hall tradition adolescence has been considered as a period of “normative turmoil”, “storm and stress”, and “oscillations and oppositions”. In the last decades, however, it has become clear that empirical data offer very little, if any, support for the traditional core idea of normative turmoil. Petersen (1988) for the first time reviewed the relevant research, refuting many of the “classical” hypotheses on adolescence. There is even some reason to call into question the special developmental status of the period of adolescence, as Arnett (1999) did, in a recent review of the available empirical data on “storm and stress”. Arnett concluded that there is, at best, some support for a “modified storm and stress view”, but only if we recognize that hormones and genes play hardly any role in it. Arnett rejected all assumptions about a universal phenomenon of adolescence and emphasized instead the large differences in the experience of adolescence between cultures and even among individuals within a culture.