Aggression and Its Legal Consequences

Aggression in people can be sparked by a variety of things, from feeling disrespected to anger over unmet goals. Human aggression can be divided into two categories: direct aggression and indirect aggression. While the former is characterized by behavior intended to hurt another person, the latter is characterized by performance proposed to harm an individual's or group's social relationships.

Meaning of Aggression

Primarily, aggression is an overt or covert social engagement with the goal of causing injury or other harm to another person. It can happen either in response to or without cause.

Aggression Symptoms

Aggressive behavior must involve action in order to be considered because it is meant to hurt someone who doesn't want to be hurt; merely contemplating spoiling somebody or feeling enraged is insufficient, and unintentionally hurting someone is not acceptable.

Aggressive actions include −

  • Physical − Like inflicting physical harm—by striking, recoiling, or piercing another individual. Physical aggression can also take the form of property damage.

  • Relational − Which aims to damage the relationships of another individual. This can involve disseminating untruths and fabricating information about other people.

  • Verbal − Which might involve shouting, mocking, and name-calling.

  • Passive-Aggressive − Such as giving a person the cold shoulder at a social gathering or making indirect praise. Instead of directly harming someone, passive-aggressive behavior typically has the intention of allowing harm to occur.

Types of Aggression

Aggression is divided into two major categories by psychologists. Whether one is the aggressor or the victim, both have negative effects on the people who are involved.

  • Impulsive Aggression − Impulsive aggression is a type of hostility that is also referred to as affective aggression or reactive aggression. The acute threat reply system in the brain, which involves the amygdala, hypothalamus, and periaqueductal gray, is triggered by impulsive aggression, particularly when it is brought on by anger. Aggression of this kind usually occurs in the heat of the moment and is not premeditated. You are displaying impulsive aggression if another vehicle cuts you off in traffic and you yell and scold the other driver.

  • Instrumental Aggression − Instrumental aggression, also known as opportunistic aggression, is characterized by actions taken with the intention of achieving a more significant objective. Instrumental aggression is frequently meticulously thought out and typically serves as a tool. An instance of this aggression would be harming another individual during a robbery. Inflicting harm on another person is the method by which the aggressor will acquire money.


What specifically triggers excessive or inappropriate violence is unknown. It's possible that a number of variables are at play, such as a person's biology, environment, and spiritual background.

  • Biological Factors − Biological factors states that aggression may be influenced by sudden release of specific Harmon or may be because of genetic variables. Likewise, aggression may be associated with imbalances in a number of hormones, including cortisol and testosterone, as well as neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine. Genetics, on the other hand, is just one of the many causes of these abnormalities. . Aggressive behavior may also be influenced by alterations in other parts of the brain.

  • Environmental Factors − To and some extent, the environmental factors, such as culture, way of nurturing, types of school environment, social circle, parents’ relation, etc., are also equally responsible for the aggressive behavior. Children who observe hostility as they grow up may be more likely to think that violence and hostility are acceptable social behaviors. Trauma suffered as a kid can also influence an adult's aggressive behavior.

Aggression's Effect

Your relationships and wellbeing may be impacted by aggression. According to research, there is a connection between chronic swelling, which can lead to secondary health issues like cardiovascular difficulties, and anger. Aggression and rage are linked to various mental health issues. However, it is unclear whether those circumstances themselves make it difficult to control strong emotions like rage and aggression or if they are caused by uncontrolled anger.

Aggression from a spouse, acquaintance, or family member can also have negative consequences. Even when their attacker doesn't, those who have experienced physical or psychological aggression see those events as negative. These aggressive behaviors may eventually result in the breakdown of the relationship. Unimpeded aggression can also complicate job situations and deteriorate friendships. That might make the attacker feel more stressed out and alienated, which might make the situation worse.

Assistance in Managing Aggression

You can learn to control your rage and find healthier coping mechanisms if you're feeling aggressive. You can have a road map to use when your feelings feel out of control by creating an anger management strategy in advance. There should be a stress-reduction strategy in that approach.

  • Being aware of your anger's warning signals, such as jaw clenching, a rapid heartbeat, or sweating.

  • Using relaxation methods like progressive muscular relaxation (PMR), deep breathing, or meditation.

  • Engaging your senses by paying attention to items you can see, hear, touch, or taste Exiting the situation.

  • Burning calories to get rid of extra energy.

  • Requesting social support from a reliable friend or relative Distracting yourself with another task.

  • Rephrasing unfavorable ideas.

  • Understanding and accepting the feelings that underlie the aggression.

Legal Consequences of Aggression

Legal consequences of aggression are not fixed rather depending on the nature and severity of the aggression; besides, cultural environment also keeps importance.

However, depending upon the nature and degree of harm and damage caused to victim, the legal consequences of aggression may be −

  • Criminal charges − If because of the aggression someone hurt physically or even someone killed, it may lead to criminal charges. For example, in case of assault, battery, or domestic violence, the aggressor may face criminal charges. The severity of the charges will depend on the circumstances of the aggression, including the level of violence, whether a weapon was used, and whether the victim suffered any injuries.

  • Civil liability − If the aggression resulted into harm or damages to the victim or victim’s property, the aggressor may face civil liability. This means that the victim can sue the aggressor for compensation for their losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.


According to Miller Dollard and colleagues' aggression hypothesis, a person's anger builds up over time as a result of frustrating experiences and eventually explodes at a particular moment where it is severe. The accumulation of frustrating experiences should be avoided to prevent violent outbursts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is reactive aggression?

Ans. Aggression that is reactive, also referred to as impulsive aggression, occurs in reaction to a particular trigger. This unplanned aggression is frequently accompanied by emotions of great rage. Reactive hostility includes hitting someone after being insulted.

Q2. What region of the brain regulates aggression?

Ans. Numerous cerebral areas are involved in aggression. The prefrontal cortex determines whether or not we take action based on our emotional reaction to an acute threat, which is mediated by the amygdala, hypothalamus, and periaqueductal gray.

Q3. What is microaggression?

Ans. Microaggressions are covert acts of prejudice against a disadvantaged group of individuals. Intentional microaggressions or those that are the result of implicit prejudice can both have a cumulatively damaging impact on the person being embattled.

Q4. What aims does violence pursue?

Ans. Aggression is intended to hurt someone who does not want to be hurt. It depends on the individual what drives them to do this. Another person may use aggression to further another objective, such as stealing another person's money or property, while a third person may act destructively in response to pain or fear.

Q5. What does violence seek to achieve?

Ans. A person who doesn't want to be hurt is the target of aggression. Different people have different reasons for doing this. Others may use aggression to further a different objective, such as stealing another person's assets or money, while others may behave aggressively out of pain or fear.

Updated on: 08-May-2023


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