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The relationship between moral reasoning and aggression, and the implications for practice

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This paper considers the relationship between moral development and aggression. After considering the theory and research that has examined the association between immature moral reasoning and aggressive behaviour, attention will be given to the psychological mechanisms mediating this relationship. This will place moral reasoning into a wider framework of aggression, in which it is proposed that children's early socialization experiences with families and peers influence the development of moral reasoning and other social cognitive processes. These social cognitive variables, such as social information processing, cognitive distortions, and moral reasoning all play a role in how individuals behave in social situations, including the use of aggression. The practical implications of this theoretical framework for reducing aggression are then considered, including the use of multi-modal interventions such as Aggression Replacement Training.
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Keywords: Aggression Replacement Training; Moral reasoning; aggression; interventions; social cognition

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester, UK

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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