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Psychopathology and Susceptibility to Violence

Over the course of their lives, many people succumb to their aggressive urges. Jealous husbands may abuse their wives, rejected youth may lash out toward their rejecters, and healthy experimental participants may blast annoying strangers with aversive and prolonged noise. But how much of aggression is due to abnormal mental processes? How do such pathological thoughts, feelings, and behaviors influence an individual’s susceptibility to commit violent acts? Each form of mental illness is unique, and as such, the avenues through which any form of psychopathology can influence aggressive behavior are idiosyncratic. This entry addresses the relation of psychopathology to aggressive behavior, focusing on several specific mental illnesses, and discusses the effect of media violence on the susceptibility to violence in those with mental illness.

Depression

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