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CANADIANS' BELIEF IN CATHARSIS

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Abstract:

A national sample (N=3,815) of 15 to 19-year-old Canadian high school students responded to a questionnaire that assessed attitudes toward contemporary social problems, e.g., violence in schools, against women and that associated with youth gangs. Beliefs in catharsis were measured by asking respondents to indicate the extent to which participating in, and observing, aggression, reduces one's level of aggression. Males provided stronger support than females for the beliefs that participation in, and the observation of, aggressive activity reduces subsequent aggression. The perceived seriousness of social problems that involve elements of violence was unrelated to beliefs about participation in aggressive activity. However, a strong pattern of associations demonstrated that those holding cathartic beliefs with respect to the observation of aggression perceived the social problems as less serious.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1995.23.3.223

Publication date: 1995-01-01

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