“He Cursed, and I Got Angry:” Beliefs About Anger Among Adolescent Male Offenders in India
- 211 Downloads
Cultural influences in the experience and expression of emotions have been widely recognized, although systematic studies of emotion-related beliefs in culturally diverse families have been scarce. The purpose of the present exploratory study was to examine beliefs about anger among a group of adolescent male offenders in India temporarily residing in a pre-sentencing institution. In particular, adolescent offenders (n = 14) were individually interviewed about their beliefs concerning causes and concomitants of, and behavioral responses to, one’s own and others’ anger, as well as family patterns of anger expression that are crucial in understanding socialization processes. Although some of the themes reflected in their narratives parallel the beliefs of educated, middle-class, non-offender youth in India (e.g., social inappropriateness of anger), as well as those of offenders in other parts of the world (e.g., aggressive behavior as a common response to anger), beliefs about various aspects of anger specific to this subculture of offender youth also emerged. In particular, perceived violations of family honor were cited as the most common elicitors of anger, and although anger was considered ‘bad’ it was expressed through aggression. The findings of this study highlight the need to develop a culturally informed theory of emotions, and relatedly, to develop culturally sensitive interventions for anger management that can be incorporated as a part of rehabilitation efforts for offender youth in India.
KeywordsCulture Emotion Anger Adolescents Delinquency Aggression Qualitative research
We are grateful to the adolescents who participated in this research, as well as to Gujarat State Department of Social Defense, administrator and staff of the Observation Home, and Juvenile Justice Board for their cooperation and assistance. We thank four anonymous reviewers and the editor at the Journal of Child and Family Studies for insightful suggestions on earlier drafts. It is acknowledged that data collection for this research was supported by a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship from University of Chicago to the first author.
- Articles Base. (2009). Juvenile crime. Retrieved from http://www.articlesbase.com/criminal-articles/juvenile-crime-1206392.html.
- Anderson, E. (1999). Code of the street: Decency, violence and the moral life of the inner city. New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
- Census of India. (2001). Census data 2001: India at a glance. Available from http://www.censusindia.gov.in/Census_Data_2001/India_at_Glance/glance.aspx.
- Crime in India. (2007). Snapshots. Available from http://www.ncrb.nic.in/cii2007/home.htm.
- Department of Women and Child Development, (2009). The juvenile justice (care and protection of children) act, 2000. Available from http://www.wcddel.in/jjaact.html.
- Derne, S. (1995). Culture in action: Family life, emotion, and male dominance in Banaras, India. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
- Ekman, P., & Friesen, W. V. (1975). Unmasking the face: A guide to recognizing emotions from facial clues. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
- Friday, P. C., & Ren, X. (Eds.). (2006). Delinquency and juvenile justice systems in the non-western world. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice Press.Google Scholar
- Govind, B. (2009). Alarming rise in juvenile crime rate. The Hindu. Retrieved from http://www.thehindu.com/2009/07/14/stories/2009071452200200.htm.
- Greenwood, D. J., & Levin, M. (2007). Introduction to action research: Social research for social change (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Hartjen, C. A., & Priyadarsini, S. (1984). Delinquency in India: A comparative analysis. Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
- Hochschild, A. (1983). The managed heart: Commercialization of human feeling. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Indian Records, (2008). Indian records rise in juvenile crime. Retrieved from http://www.igovernment.in/site/India-records-rise-in-juvenile-crimes/.
- Lewis, M. (2008). The emergence of human emotions. In M. Lewis, J. M. Haviland-Jones, & L. F. Barrett (Eds.), Handbook of emotions (3rd ed., pp. 304–319). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1994). The cultural construction of self and emotion: Implications for social behavior. In S. Kitayama & H. R. Markus (Eds.), Emotion and culture: Empirical studies of mutual influence (pp. 89–130). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Maxwell, J. A. (2010). Using numbers in qualitative research. Qualitative Inquiry. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/1077800410364740.
- Mitra, N. L. (1988). Juvenile delinquency and Indian justice system. New Delhi, India: Deep and Deep Publications.Google Scholar
- National Crime Records Bureau. (2006). Crime in India: Incidence and rate of juvenile delinquency under IPC (1996–2006). Retrieved from http://www.ncrb.nic.in/CII2006/cii-2006/Table%20Contents.htm.
- Patel, T. (2005). The family in India: Structure and practice. New Delhi: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Rai, N., & Singh, A. K. (2006). Care and protection of disadvantaged children in urban India. Available from http://www.rcueslko.org/reports/Care%20&%20Protectoin%20on%20Children%20-%20Theme%20Paper.pdf.
- Raval, V. V., & Martini, T. S. (2011). Socialization of emotion in children with internalizing, externalizing, and somatic problems in urban India. Manuscript submitted for publication.Google Scholar
- Raval, V. V., Martini, T. S., & Raval, P. H. (2005). Situational antecedents of anger, sadness, and physical pain in Asian Indian children. Poster session presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Atlanta, GA.Google Scholar
- Shweder, R. A., Haidt, J., Horton, R., & Joseph, C. (2008). The cultural psychology of emotions: Ancient and renewed. In M. Lewis, J. M. Haviland-Jones, & L. F. Barrett (Eds.), Handbook of emotions (3rd ed., pp. 409–427). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Tangney, J. P., Hill-Barlow, D., Wagner, P. E., Marschall, D. E., Borenstein, J. K., Sanftner, J., et al. (1996). Assessing individual differences in constructive versus destructive responses to anger across the lifespan. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 780–796.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Triandis, H. C. (1995). Individualism and collectivism. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
- Verma, S. (1999). Socialization for survival: Developmental issues among working street children in India. In M. Raffaelli & R. W. Larson (Eds.), Homeless and working youth around the world: Exploring developmental issues (pp. 5–18). New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 85, San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.Google Scholar