Taming the tiger within
: managing aggression in young adults (18 – 25 years) through group therapy: a grounded theory study

  • Oby Osuchukwu

Student thesis: PsychD


Though perspectives on meaning and management may vary, aggressive behaviours have been acknowledged by researchers, victims, perpetrators and the society at large as problems requiring urgent attention. The recent increase in aggressive behaviours among young adults and the subsequent social impact seemed to have drawn renewed attention to this social problem. This study, therefore, explored young adults’ pre-and-post therapy perspectives on the meaning of aggression as well as the helpful and unhelpful factors in managing their aggressive behaviours after group therapy. Twelve participants (aged 18 - 25 years) were interviewed using semi-structured questions. The interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and data analysed using Strauss and Corbin’s (1990) version of grounded theory.
The study found that prior to group therapy, participants viewed aggression as an uncontrollable rage which can be useful in communicating unspoken thoughts and feelings. Post-therapy, however, their perspective became more flexible as they believed that aggression is as much an internal emotional struggle as it is a social and interpersonal problem. They asserted that aggressive behaviours can be controlled with appropriate skills and resources. ‘Powerlessness’, arising from ineffective self-regulation and developmental maladaptation, was identified as core category that underpins aggressive behaviours in young adults. The three inter-linked conditions suggested for effective management of their aggressive behaviours were: functional mixed-age group therapy, personal commiment to change and social norm flexibility.
The study, therefore, proposed Relational Integrative Model of Therapy (RIMOT) using S.K.I.P.S framework for managing aggression in young adults. The S.K.I.P.S framework stands for: Skills, Knowledge, Improving personal quality, unconditional Positive regards, and Social awareness campaign. The framework would enable counselling psychologists and therapists to assist clients deal with the underlying maladaptive intra- and inter- personal issues as well as provide them skills for managing the resultant aggressive behaviours.
Date of Award16 Apr 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Roehampton
SupervisorGella Richards (Supervisor) & Diane Bray (Supervisor)

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