An exploration of the link between anxiety and antisocial behaviour

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McCoy, Stephen
Issue Date
Higher Diploma in Arts in Psychoanalytic Studies
Dublin Business School
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Demographics and statistics show that crime, drug addiction, antisocial behaviour along with other social problems occur with the greatest frequency in communities that are, for the most part, a lot less well off than the rest of society. Though this issue has received enormous attention from psychologists and sociologists, psychoanalysis has a lot to contribute in terms of familial dynamics which are fundamental to the formation of the subject and as such are to be found at the core of these problems. Psychoanalysis places emphasis on the very stages of life as it is in this period that ones later subjectivity has its roots. Antisocial activity is not something confined to the poorer classes in society for we find that children and adolescents who come from what can be a considered stable, well off and caring backgrounds also exhibit the tendency to steal, assault, take drugs etc. What this demonstrates is that the root to the problem is not necessarily an issue of financial or geographical determination but rather a consequence of something more fundamental to our constitution as human beings. Our subjective experience of the world and our early experiences with the Other forms the basis of our functioning within the symbolic order of society and shapes the manner in which we deal with a fundamental affect which effects our subjectivity from the beginning, namely anxiety. An elucidation of anxiety and an examination of the antisocial tendency may shed more light on the psychical life of children and adolescents.