Thesis Title

"A Boost Into Manhood" Violence and Aggression as it Relates to Sex Role Confusion

Graduation Date

Fall 1983

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree Granting Institution

Notre Dame de Namur University

Program Name

Art Therapy


This writer has taken on a seemingly grandiose task of explaining violence and aggressive behavior in adolescents in association with sex role confusion. First of all a typical psychoanalytic viewpoint will be presented which explains this struggle in a traditional since; i.e., that violence and aggres­sion in the child's response to anxiety and pressures of this transitional stage. It is also viewed as a time in which suppressed, unconscious material of early development is brought back into consciousness, thus creating overwhelming anxiety as well as pressure to assimilate it. The work of Bruno Bettelhiem was helpful in elaborating on this issue. His re­search into primitive initiation ceremonies with adolescents has provided an alternative explanation of violence and de­structive behavior. His theory revolves around the basic pre­mise of underlying envy of the sexual parts of the opposite sex. That violence in men is an unproductive effect of our society's unability to provide an outlet or form of sublimation of these desires. This writer's personal experiences with delinquent and violent behavior of adolescent boys in a psychiatric hospital has motivated this research for an answer. This paper will assert that. Art therapy provides an outlet for these destructive tendencies. Some examples will be provided from other spontaneous works for these adolescents boys in an art therapy group.