Social Status and the Desire to Resort to Violence : Using the Example of Uganda's Former Child Soldiers
2013, Crombach, Anselm, Weierstall, Roland, Hecker, Tobias, Schalinski, Inga, Elbert, Thomas
Committing violent acts can be appealing, fascinating, exciting, and addictive (i.e., appetitive). Cultural settings that accept vio- lence as a means to power and success promote this appetitive form of aggression. Former child soldiers of Uganda with military rank reported committing a greater variety of violent acts compared to those without rank. They experienced aggressive behavior as more positive than both those without rank and controls who had never been involved in armed groups. The relation between the number of individually committed offense types and appetitive aggression is weaker in former child soldiers without rank compared to those with rank. This indicates that the potential for rapid development of appetitive aggression is rewarded with higher social status in war-afflicted communities.