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Frustration Aggression Theory

Jürgen Grimm


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Frustration is defined as a state that sets in if a goal-oriented act is delayed or thwarted. The instigation remains even though the chances of realization are constrained by interfering influences. Under these frustrating conditions aggressive behavior is stimulated to an extent that corresponds with the intensity of the instigation and the degree of blockage of goal attainment. Aggression is defined as the deliberate violation of an organism or an organism substitute. It is primarily directed toward the cause of frustration, but may be redirected toward any other people or objects. The inhibition of aggressive behavior represents in itself a factor of frustration and can reinforce aggressive tendencies. In its first general definition the frustration aggression theory (or hypothesis, hence “FA-H”) proposes that aggression is always the result of frustration ( Dollard et al. 1939 ). This corresponds with the following two postulates: (1) aggressive behavior requires the existence of frustration, and (2) the existence of frustration leads to some kind of aggressive behavior. Manifest aggression reduces aggressive tendencies and results in “catharsis.” However, this only applies to that part of aggression caused by inhibition of aggression, not to aggression caused by the original instigation. The latter lasts as long as the frustrating conditions continue. A “catharsis” in its ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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