This sample Instrumental Violence Essay is published for informational purposes only. Free essays and research papers, are not written by our writers, they are contributed by users, so we are not responsible for the content of this free sample paper. If you want to buy a high quality essay at affordable price please use our custom essay writing service.
Instrumental violence is goal-oriented aggression or violence that occurs as a by-product of an individual’s attempting to achieve a superordinate goal. Early 20th-century theorist Edward Thorndike’s law of effect is useful in understanding the nature of instrumental abuse, as it is based on the observation that many behaviors appear to be efforts to obtain some desired results or avoid the occurrence of other unwelcome outcomes. Such goal-oriented behaviors are labeled “instrumental” because they appear to be deliberate attempts to achieve specific results.
Instrumental behaviors are common in interactions between two people, occurring whenever one person attempts to influence the other to act or refrain from acting in specific ways. In this sense, these behaviors lie at the core of reciprocal exchanges. However, when the tactics of influence are covert, overly harsh, and entirely one-way, behaviors that might have shaped and sustained relationships can become abusive and destroy intimacy.
The primary motivation for instrumental abuse appears to be manipulating another person to comply with a demand for access to some asset (e.g., money, power). As with all coercive behavior, the force behind instrumental aggression is threatened or actual delivery of some feared consequence. This could be threatened or actual violence toward the other or objects valued by the other, refusal to engage in interactions desired by the other, or forms of withdrawal including ending the relationship. Physical harm may be a product of instrumental abuse.
In theory, instrumental abuse may fall on a continuum between maliciously destructive predatory abuse, in which the primary aim is to injure the other person, and affective abuse, in which the goal is essentially self-protection or the expression of emotion, albeit through aggression. It should be noted that some have conceptualized this continuum as simply ranging from expressive to instrumental abuse. In certain cases, it may be difficult to determine whether a specific act of violence is instrumental or expressive, as some behaviors may share the characteristics of both.
It has been argued that instrumental abusers are inherently narcissistic; have a weak, albeit not absent, sense of empathy; and have at least mild psychopathic tendencies. This description stems from the willingness of instrumental abusers to exploit others in pursuit of some personal gain. Intervention outcomes are likely to be inversely proportional to the presence of these antisocial tendencies. For treatment to succeed, abusers must be helped to develop a sense of morality and an appreciation of the centrality of reciprocity to well-functioning social relationships. These are among the more difficult challenges faced by therapists.
- Haller, J., & Kruk, M. R. (2006). Normal and abnormal aggression: Human disorders and novel laboratory models. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 30, 292-303.
- Stuart, R. B. (2005). Treatment for partner abuse: Time for a paradigm shift. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 36, 254-263.
Free essays are not written to satisfy your specific instructions. You can use our professional writing services to order a custom essay, research paper, or term paper on any topic and get your high quality paper at affordable price. UniversalEssays is the best choice for those who seek help in essay writing or research paper writing in any field of study.