Frustration-aggression hypothesis: examination and reformulation

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Classics in the History of Psychology -- Miller et al. (1941)

The F-A model differs from Instinct theory in that aggression may bethe result of instigators other than biological instincts. A morerecent view of the F-A hypothesis suggests that the magnitude of theexpressed aggression is dependent on:

Therapists can add to rapport by expressing their own appreciation of the value of confidentiality. For example, the therapist can say:

Aggression: Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis | …

Nathan, for another example, sold drugs for years before his most recent arrest, his new wife, and his renewed faith all convinced him to clean up his act. As he worked with his therapist to identify new income-generating options, Nathan flirted with the idea of entering the ministry to share what he has learned and to help others in need. However, he feared that other people would not take him seriously or believe his sincerity considering his criminal past. Meanwhile, as he weighed the strength of his newly inspired convictions against his anticipated vows of education and relative poverty, he could not help missing the quick money he made selling drugs. Furthermore, his current construction job is physically taxing, not to mention boring.

The Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis described aggression as the result of ..

Clients who express concern that family members or friends will reject or ridicule them if they no longer “party” together can plan with their therapists how to handle interpersonal tensions with particular individuals. They can also be advised to talk about their plans and feelings regarding possible change with those persons the clients are most worried about, and possibly report back to the therapist how those conversations went. (Many will find that others are more accepting and understanding than anticipated!) For clients who voice doubts that they are capable of enforcing their own decisions to change, therapists can suggest methods to boost the client’s self-efficacy and self-esteem. Plans can include agreements to discuss best and worst case hypothetical outcomes of making a decision. During the planning process, therapists can empathize with and validate the client’s feelings about being stuck as well as the client’s hope for change.

03/01/2018 · The frustration-aggression hypothesis put forward by Dollard et al. (1939) is based on the psychodynamic explanation of catharsis. Freud believed the drive for


Being caught off guard by client questions about the therapist’s personal use, opinions, or values with respect to drugs and alcohol can damage the therapist’s credibility. Even if a therapist declines to disclose personal history, the planning process is best served if the therapist can offer a convincing rationale. For example, the therapist could respond to client probes by explaining the “Catch-22” implied in the question (M. Combs, personal communication, November 1996):

Frustration-Aggression (F-A) Theories

Planning treatment according to a client’s assessed readiness for change ties into the transtheoretical model of personal change (Prochaska and Norcross, 1994; 2014). The client’s stage of change is crucial for the task of planning treatment, because therapists who try to persuade clients to engage in activity that is inconsistent with the client’s current level of readiness usually elicit client resistance in some form. For example, asking clients in the contemplation stage to take the action of abstaining from drug use before the clients have committed to taking this step and prepared themselves for the task has lower chances of keeping clients’ emotional arousal at manageable levels and of giving clients experiences of successful task performance. Another example of mismatched methods would be to require the client to attend thirty Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in thirty days if the client is still in the precontemplation stage, not yet acknowledging any problem with alcohol. Clients who resist therapist recommendations such as these are sending a message that their therapists may have initially misjudged the client’s readiness to change. In such instances, therapists are recommended to alter their approaches accordingly.

Frustration Aggression | Aggression | Anger

Tacts under the control of private stimuli (Bloomfield’s “displaced speech”) form a large and important class (130-46), including not only such responses as familiar and beautiful, but also verbal responses referring to past, potential, or future events or behavior. For example, the response There was an elephant at the zoo “must be understood as a response to current stimuli, including events within the speaker himself” (143).39 If we now ask ourselves what proportion of the tacts in actual life are responses to (descriptions of) actual current outside stimulation, we can see just how large a role must be attributed to private stimuli. A minute amount of verbal behavior, outside the nursery, consists of such remarks as This is red and There is a man. The fact that functional analysis must make such a heavy appeal to obscure internal stimuli is again a measure of its actual advance over traditional formulations.