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Adolescent exposure to and attitudes toward violence: Empirical evidence from Bangladesh

Violence is widespread in today’s world and persists amidst high economic growth, widening inequality, rapid urbanization and migration, and technological shifts. Violence occurs in both private and public domains and its news and images are carried prominently by both the old and new media. Low income countries like Bangladesh are no exception and exposure seem high although there is little systematic evidence on prevalence, nature, structure, tendencies or trends, especially in the context of adolescent experience. This is important to estimate given that exposure to violence normalizes violence, extant research shows, which is socially reproduced and intergenerationally carried over (Ehrensaft et al., 2003; Fehringer & Hindin, 2009; Murshid, 2012). Theory suggests violence is a socially learned behavior; individuals exposed to violence are more likely to have violence-prone schemas and scripts that they learn to use as a tool of conflict management (Bandura, 1978). This occurs through a mechanism that first informs individuals’ attitudes about violence.

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