Term of Award

Winter 2014

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Social Sciences (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Committee Chair

Laura Agnich

Committee Member 1

Christina Policastro

Committee Member 2

Bryan Miller


Due to increased media attention and associated fear, school shootings have become a major concern for the public. Attempts to predict and prevent shootings have been developed by a variety of government agencies such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A psychological profile, however, has yet to be established. This study uses demographic and behavioral characteristics of perpetrators and school characteristics to predict the likelihood of a perpetrator’s usage of firearms. A total of 345 perpetrators of mass school violence incidents are examined, including 266 who used firearms. White perpetrators and those with fewer co-perpetrators were more likely to use firearms. Results also showed that perpetrators were more likely to use firearms in rural communities compared with urban communities, and in middle and high schools in comparison with elementary schools. Implications include the need for future research on policies that examine school violence prevention and response programs. Active shooter training is important, but responses to other types of weapons should also be examined. The findings show differences in locales for mass school violence events, so gun control legislation should also be tailored to on location. Future prevention programs should take these findings into account, and future research should further examine additional characteristics of schools that experience mass violence.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material