Psychological Self-Help

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in their lives. By the way, this statistic in the US reminds one of the high
murder rates reported among married Indian women who have not produced
a boy baby. We will discuss violence within the family later in this chapter.
One in eight high school students are involved in an abusive "love"
relationship right now. 40% of youths have been in a fight in the last year;
10% were in four or more fights last year. 25% of young males have carried
a weapon at least one day in the last month (of that 25%, 60% carried a
knife and 25% a gun). Boys and men are much more likely to carry a weapon
than a female, but don't assume that only men act violently. Recent studies
suggest that college (not high school) women are more likely than men to
kick, push, bite, and slap in anger, especially when they are jealous. Hostile,
aggressive young people tend to come from broken, angry, violent homes.
Violence comes in many forms and in many situations. On the extreme end of the
scale, there are mass murderers, serial killers, terrorism, wars, rape and sexual
violence, domestic violence, parent-child or sibling violence, violence by psychotics
and people with antisocial personality disorders, child physical and sexual abuse, and
ethnic or religious groups or nations that go to war. I do not intend to imply that
these acts are similar. I’m simply pointing out the wide diversity and regrettable
frequency of violence. Since the 9/11/2001 attack on the World Trade Center Towers
in New York City, there has been a lot of attention on preventing violence by
terrorists (mostly by capturing or killing the terrorists first) but little serious research
has been done to further our understanding of the causes or prevention of angry
aggression. (Levin & Rabrenovic, 2004, provide a sociological view and discuss ways
small groups have reduced hatred). Much research is needed.
Of course, anger isn’t only expressed in horrendous events—it is a part of everyday
life. A survey of 6,000 families published by the British government (Flouri, E., 2005)
found that 89% of children born in 1958 were “never” or only “sometimes irritable.”
Most children were “mild mannered” but boys were more commonly rated by their
mothers as “frequently irritable” than girls between 5 and 12. Moderately angry
children do not necessarily become angry young adults. Anger seems to wane with
age. When these children get into their 20’s and 30’s, the angry women slightly
outnumber angry males. Angry young adults have more health problems and are
less likely to have gotten married. Among the more extreme “consistently angry”
children, they remain more angry and dissatisfied with life in their 30’s than their
less angry peers in childhood.
There are many efforts to measure and predict violence (Quinsey, Harris, Rice, &
Cormier, 1998; Spielberger, 2005; search a search engine), but mostly in maximum
security and psychiatric institutions. Much better measures and ways to predict
violence are needed. Knowledge about how to reduce aggression in many situations
is even more needed. 
Among the more fascinating findings is a measure called the “Finger Length Ratio”,
calculated by dividing the length of the second finger (the index finger) by the length
of the usually longer fourth finger (the ring finger). This ratio is generally smaller for
males than for females, indicating males’ ring fingers are longer relative to their
index finger than is true of females. In males and females, this ratio using the right
hand has been found to be related to the amount of testosterone available to the
fetus early in pregnancy. Studies have also found that men with smaller digit ratios
are judged as more masculine and better in physical sports. In addition, the finger
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