Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2014

Thesis Advisor(s)

V. Bede Agocha

Honors Major

Individualized Major


Criminology | Psychology | Sociology


This Thesis Project investigates putative causes for mass-casualty violence in America’s schools. Both popular and scientific literatures suggest a variety of factors to explain these events, including violence in media such as movies and video games, gun culture, social constructions of masculinity, as well as social isolation, rejection, and disaffection among youth. Whereas such factors are not present in every incidence of mass violence and have yet to be demonstrated as explicitly causal variables, significant evidence points to social rejection in the form of bullying experiences and consumption of violent media such as first-person-shooter video games as representing key driving forces that promote violence and aggression among the nation’s youth. Accordingly, this project reviews previous findings to determine whether and how the factors operate independently and interactively to promote aggression. Subsequently, this project proposes a survey assessment to identify these interrelations among college-age individuals. The proposed study examines the central hypothesis that frequent combination of social rejection (e.g., bullying victimization) experience with interactive violent media use (e.g., shooter video games) can lead to heightened aggression-intent by producing negative cognitions, antisocial attitudes, and moral disengagement to a greater degree than each factor would contribute individually. Implications for future research and application are discussed.