Reuters reported on May 26, 2005 on a study to appear in the May 27, 2005 issue of Science which shows that adolescents exposed to violence are twice as likely to be violent themselves.
"New study findings provide scientific proof for what some have already deduced: teens exposed to violence are more likely than their peers to become involved in violence in the future.
Specifically, the study found that adolescents who witness gun violence or are the victim of gun violence are twice as likely as their peers to commit serious violence during the following two years after their exposure.
"The primary implication of these findings is that violence can be transmitted from person to person by means of exposure in the community," study author Jeffrey B. Bingenheimer, a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan's School of Public Health, told Reuters Health.
"This makes the 'epidemic of violence' metaphor seem particularly apt, and is consistent with sociological theories of violent crime as a contagious social process," he added.
If, as this finding and other research suggests, "violence begets violence," the implications of increasing rates of violent crime along and adolescent exposure to violence, are troubling, the report states."
These findings would seem to me to have implications for international relations as well, and makes me further question the Bush Administration's "war on terror" and the pre-emptive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The idea that strategies other than war like international dialogue, and the UN inspection process is particularly strong given the idea uncovered in this study that violence only begets more violence.
It turns out that the UN inspection process had worked and that Iraq had no WMD and no nuclear capability, and yet the Bush administration embarked on a violent strategy anyway which has brought about a retalitory insurgency that has killed more Americans and Iraqis after Bush's famous gaff of announcing "mission accomplished" than before his announcement.
This study done at a neighborhood and community level has important implications at a macrosystems level as well.