frustration–aggression hypothesis

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The hypothesis that frustration leads to aggressive behaviour. Frustration develops when an aggressor is unable to attain a goal. Aggression is usually directed towards the cause of the frustration, but if this is not possible, the aggression maybe displaced onto another person or object. It has been suggested that competitive sport is inherently aggressive because participants who are losing become frustrated. The original form of the frustration–aggression hypothesis, that frustration always leads to aggression, is not generally accepted. A revised version includes elements of social learning theory. It suggests that frustration increases arousal and anger, but this leads to aggression only if the individual has learned to be aggressive in the particular situation. See also instinctual theory, instinct theory.

Subjects: Sports and Exercise Medicine.

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