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Unveiling the Roots of Violence and Sources of Violent Behavior

Violence is an intricate phenomenon that forms in numerous directions within forensic psychology. The causes of violent human behavior include individual, broad societal factors, drugs, and substance abuse. It is essential for forensic psychologists to account for such factors because they involve the interpretation, prevention, and treatment of incidents involving violence.

On a personal level, psychological factors play a crucial role in violent behavior. ASPD and psychopathy are highly correlated with violent propensity. People with ASPD and psychopathy have a lack of empathy, guilt, and impulse control indicators that make them vulnerable to aggressive behavior. Violent behavior can be linked to an early upbringing wherein exposure to violence or traumatization might have led the person to a desire to commit acts of violence (Gabbey & Raypole, 2022). In such instances, the balance between nature and nurture occurs as genetic predispositions are combined with early life experiences to create a person’s personality profile. Moreover, neurobiological factors, including brain structural and functional anomalies, are also linked to conditioning individuals before the violence (Gabbey & Raypole, 2022). One of the critical aspects of forensic psychology is learning how psychological, biological, and environmental factors interact at the individual level, which requires quantifying heinous behavior.

Social and cultural factors also shape violent behavior in an individual. The level of socioeconomic inequality causes conditions in which people feel frustrated and powerless, often culminating in violent responses. These differences become complicated by the lack of quality education, which prevents socioeconomic mobility and generates intergenerational cycles of violence (Gabbey & Raypole, 2022). The absence of community facilities, such as mental health services and methods to resolve conflicts, has deprived the required support systems for individuals who are forced by circumstances into violent options. In other cases, violence transforms itself either into a survival mechanism or a form of control resulting from marginalization and powerlessness.

The impact of substance abuse on violent behaviors scrutiny for forensic psychology does not cease at correlation but moves to more causation. Drugs and substance abuse lead to increased impulsivity, which causes aggression (Resnick & Scott, 2009). Consumption of psychoactive substances results in impaired cognitive functions, poor judgment, and lack of inhibitions, making the individuals violent. This ambiguous association is superimposed on mental health disorders, and there is an additive effect that leads to the more extraordinary occurrence of violent behavior. Interaction between substance abuse, mental health, and violence is crucial in the field of forensic psychology as professionals develop risk assessments for intervention strategies and treatment plans.

Institutional factors are often given prominence in sustaining violence, especially among former prisoners. Such challenges are demonstrable by recidivism, which brings the offender back into the criminal justice system. This can be looked at as an indication of high recidivism because the current correctional practices are not addressing underlying factors that cause criminal behavior (Resnick & Scott, 2009). However, this problem is exacerbated by the absence of thorough rehabilitation programs since individuals are not released from correctional facilities with sufficient reintegration services. The institutional environment, characterized by overcrowded prisons and punishment instead of rehabilitation, has an aspect that forms a setting for violent behavior.

In conclusion, forensic psychology evaluates the complex interconnectedness of causes that lead to violence and crime. Understanding these diverse sources is critical for devising intervention strategies and preventative measures. Understanding the underlying mechanisms of violence is very critical. Through it, forensic psychologists would introduce more modern forms of risk assessment and treatment for those interventions that can break different cycles of violent behaviors.


Gabbey, A. E., & Raypole, C. (2022, March 3). Aggressive Behavior: Signs, Causes, and Treatment. Healthline.

Resnick, P. J., & Scott, C. L. (2009). Risk assessment. In R. N. Kocsis (Ed.), Applied criminal psychology: A guide to forensic behavioral sciences (pp. 69–91).


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