Perceptions of anger and aggression in rural adolescent Australian males
Edwards, P, van de Mortel, T & Stevens, J in press, 'Perceptions of anger and aggression in rural adolescent Australian males', International Journal of Mental Health Nursing.
Problematic anger is often the outward manifestation and expression of deeper mental health issues in young men with strong links to depression, aggression, and suicide. Few studies have explored adolescent anger and aggression from the perspective of adolescent males and even fewer studies focus specifically on a rural context. This research aimed to understand the role of anger and aggression from the perspective of Australian rural adolescent males. Mental health nurses can build upon this knowledge to promote more adaptive ways of coping with anger therefore identifying specific interventions for the prevention of violence and promotion of mental health in this cohort. One hundred and eighty-seven rural adolescent males participated in focus groups that were conducted during their participation in the Rock and Water Program (RWP). Participants identified a number of factors they felt contributed to the aggression they both witnessed and experienced with eight themes emerging in response to the research questions. Four themes related to personological factors, that is racism, homophobia, family influences, and media influence. A further four themes related to situational factors, that is alcohol, territorialism, school context, and peer pressure. The study identified that racist and homophobic attitudes and beliefs were evident and clearly contributed to aggressive scripts as did family and media messages that normalized aggressive behaviour by way of endorsing stereotypical images of an aggressive masculinity. Situational factors such as alcohol use, territorialism, school context, and peer pressure were directly linked by participants to aggressive incidents embedded within their notions of masculinity.