Can Human Aggression Be Controlled

Aggression is so inherent in nearly every species that it is doubtful that it can ever be fully controlled, nor would it be desirable to control it. When aggression among humans reaches the point of threatening the social fabric, however, steps must be taken to control or, at least, to redirect it. The adolescent male who wants to beat everyone up probably is suffering from extreme anger. It may be possible to redirect this anger, which is a form of energy, into more socially acceptable channels. It may also be possible to control elements in the environment—home life, being bullied at school, being rejected by peers—in such ways as to reduce the anger and resentment that have led to aggressive behavior.

The management of aggression through psychotherapy and medication may prove effective. The aggressive individual, however, may resist the treatment that could succeed in controlling the socially unacceptable aggressive behavior in which he or she engages. Attempts to control aggression often run counter to the very nature of human beings as they pass through the various developmental stages of their lives.

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