Sexual and violent aggression : attachment and interpersonal perspectives
Interpersonal violence is a subject of particular concern to society. Although many theories exist about the social organisation of violence, relatively little has been written about the interpersonal processes that are at work in the act of violence of perpetrator on victim, or about the different forms that violent action can take. Two specified forms of aggression are investigated in this thesis using instruments that examine mental representations of attachment and interpersonal functioning. The sample chosen is that of mentally disordered offenders and the forms of violence are sexual violence and interpersonal violence without sexual motivation. A multi-level approach is used to examine the attachments and object relations of violent and sexual offenders, using interview based methodologies, repertory grid and questionnaire methods. The primary emphasis is upon the persons' reported experiences of themselves, their primary caretakers, and others. In addition, the capacity of violent and sexual offenders to reflect on their own and others' minds, and to differentiate between self and other (including key object relationships and victim) are examined. There is some support for the prediction that there will be differences in the expression of attachments and interpersonal relating between offenders who commit sexual violence when compared to those who commit non sexual violence. There is also support for the approach of using measures from different theoretical traditions to bring a richer perspective on interpersonal functioning.