Psychological Abuse of Children Results in School Violence, Bullying, And School Shootings Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

In 2018, there were a total of 113 people who had been killed or injured in school shootings (Katsiyannis, Whitford, & Ennis, 2018). It is indicated that there have been more people who have been injured due to mass shootings in the United States in the past 18 years than those injured in the entire 20th century. This indicates that school shootings are no longer isolated occurrences but rather they form a part of a deadly epidemic that should be addressed. The best way to address this epidemic is to uncover its underlying root causes. There are numerous shootings that take place in American schools and shooting will only become a mass shooting if four or more people are killed. This number does not include the shooter. There has been a steady rise in the number of school shootings since 1979. In the 1980s the overall death toll from the mass shooting was 12 and in the 1990s the death toll was 36 (Paolini, 2015). For the whole of the 20th century, there were 55 people killed and 260 injured at schools due to mass shootings in America's Western region. According to Katsiyannis et al. (2018) a majority of the shooters were white males who mainly acted alone. Of the 25 shooters, nine were diagnosed as suffering from a mental illness. Sixty percent of the shooters were aged 11 - 18 years. From the start of the 21st century, there have already been 13 mass school shootings that involved lone shooters. These incidents have resulted in 66 people being killed and 81 injured. There have been more deaths related to school shootings in less than 18 years than those experienced in the 20th century. The most alarming thing is that most of the 21st century shooters were adolescents. This does indicate that it is now easier for adolescents to access guns. Adolescents more frequently suffer from mental health issues than was the case in the 20th century.

Child Psychological Abuse

Child psychological abuse is the pattern of intentional behavioral or verbal actions that convey to a child the message that he or she is unloved, flawed, worthless, endangered, or unwanted. Some forms of psychological abuse that can be used on a child include withholding emotional support, terrorizing a child, or isolation. Domestic violence that is witnessed by a child can also be considered to be a form of psychological abuse. Psychological abuse of a child will have serious consequences on the child's development. Children are born into the world being innocent and they mostly find comfort and support from their caregivers when they are under stress (Paolini, 2015). However, when the child is abused, they will not be able to get the comfort and support they need. This will result in the child displaying abnormal patterns of emotional response and disturbed forms of attachment towards their caregiver. The child's future mental and physical health is impacted during his or her developmental years and this is mainly influenced by the caregiver (Katsiyannis et al., 2018). The development of higher cognitive functions and the ability to interact with others is highly impacted by the quality of exchanges between the infant and caregiver. A child is likely to have learning and behavioral issues if they are living with parents who are abusive.

When a child experiences parental abuse or neglect, they are likely to display negative outcomes that will carry on in their adult life. The child will have ongoing problems with self-concept, emotional regulation, academic motivation, and social skills (Dias, Sales, Hessen, & Kleber, 2015). There is also a likelihood of the child having serious learning problems, severe depression, peer difficulties, delinquency, substance abuse, and aggressive behavior. A history of child abuse is associated with suicide attempts, personality disorder, and substance…

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…get more violent as time passes by (Briere et al., 2017). This forces the school authorities to expel the child, which gives the child the opportunity they need to participate in even more risky behavior. Mass shootings and bullying are mostly done by adolescents who have experienced psychological abuse at home. The adolescent did not learn how to make emotional connections when he or she was young and they do not understand how they might be hurting others. To them, they seem violence as the best way to make connections since this is how they were brought up. It is most likely that the adolescent might perceive what he or she is doing to be wrong but they do not understand why they feel good about them self after hurting others.


Making the connection between psychological abuse and adolescent risky behaviors is vital to prevent and reduce the number of school mass shootings taking place. Psychological abuse of children has negative consequences that will result in injury to the child and to the society as well. An abused child will definitely act out and they will want to hurt others as they have been hurt too. Since the child's mental development was interfered with, the child will lack the ability to make the necessary emotional connections with others. The child will also have adjustment problems and they will not be happy with changes taking place, which would normally cause them to have anxiety. Therefore, it is vital that psychological abuse is prevented in order to ensure that we can reduce the number of mass shootings taking place in schools. Teachers should be taught on how they can identify children who are at risk of developing mental problems that are as a result of abuse at home. This will ensure that the children do undergo counseling early instead of them being punished for acting out…

Sources Used in Document:


Briere, J., Runtz, M., Eadie, E., Bigras, N., & Godbout, N. (2017). Disengaged parenting: Structural equation modeling with child abuse, insecure attachment, and adult symptomatology. Child abuse & neglect, 67, 260-270.

Dias, A., Sales, L., Hessen, D. J., & Kleber, R. J. (2015). Child maltreatment and psychological symptoms in a Portuguese adult community sample: the harmful effects of emotional abuse. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 24(7), 767-778.

Katsiyannis, A., Whitford, D. K., & Ennis, R. P. (2018). Historical Examination of United States Intentional Mass School Shootings in the 20 th and 21 st Centuries: Implications for Students, Schools, and Society. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 27(8), 2562-2573.

Paolini, A. (2015). School shootings and student mental health: Role of the school counselor in mitigating violence. Ideas and research you can use: VISTAS 2015.

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