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ERIC Number: EJ843305
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 28
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 43
ISSN: ISSN-1538-8220
Thurston High School: The Effects of Both Distal and Emotional Proximity in an Acute Instance of School Violence
Curry, Vicky
Journal of School Violence, v2 n3 p93-120 2003
On May 21, 1998 Kipland Kinkel entered Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon, gunned down two students and injured scores more, after murdering his parents the night before. There is a dearth of research focused on the effects of such violence in school settings where the perpetrator is a peer of his victims. We do not know if, how, or under what circumstances adolescents exposed to this violence are psychologically changed, or if the changes are temporary or long-lasting. This study explores the incidence of post-traumatic effects of such an incident. These effects are hypothesized to be influenced by both distal (physical) (Pynoos & Nader, 1986) and emotional proximity (Terr, 1990). Emotional proximity is, in this study, measured by connectedness to the school. Effects of peritrauma dissociative responses in the immediate aftermath of the incident on longitudinal effects are also explored. Participants include 80 respondents who completed a lengthy survey at two to three years post incident. The sample was predominantly recruited from three Oregon institutes of higher learning. It includes adolescents who were enrolled at Thurston High School at the time, young adults who had graduated from Thurston in the five years prior to the incident and a control group from another college town 40 miles away. Findings support the hypotheses that distal proximity at the time of the event predicts the longitudinal direct effects of distress from hyper arousal, intrusions, and avoidance. Controlling for distal proximity, emotional proximity to Thurston High School predicts peritrauma dissociative response and alexithymia. Further, elevated peritrauma scores predicts distress from intrusions at two to three years. These results suggest there can be long-lasting effects from one instance of acute school violence. Limitations of the study and future research are discussed. (Contains 2 tables and 4 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Oregon