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A model for differentiating school shooters characteristics

Maria Ioannou (International Research Centre for Investigative Psychology (IRCIP), University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK)
Laura Hammond (International Research Centre for Investigative Psychology (IRCIP), University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK)
Olivia Simpson (International Research Centre for Investigative Psychology (IRCIP), University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK)

Journal of Criminal Psychology

ISSN: 2009-3829

Article publication date: 3 August 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the potential for developing a model for differentiating school shooters based on their characteristics (or risk factors) before the attack took place.

Design/methodology/approach

Data on 40 school shootings was compiled from the National School Safety Center’s Report on School Associated Violent Deaths and media accounts. Content analysis of the cases produced a set of 18 variables relating to offenders’ characteristics (or risk factors). Data were subjected to Smallest Space Analysis (SSA), a non-metric multidimensional scaling procedure.

Findings

Results revealed three distinct themes: Disturbed School Shooter, Rejected School Shooter and Criminal School Shooter. Further analysis identified links between these themes with the family background of the offender.

Research limitations/implications

These findings have both significant theoretical implications in the understanding of school shooters and the crime in general. They offer potential for practical applications in terms of prevention and intervention strategies. A key limitation relates to the quality of data.

Originality/value

This is the first study to develop a model for differentiating school shooter characteristics.

Keywords

Citation

Ioannou, M., Hammond, L. and Simpson, O. (2015), "A model for differentiating school shooters characteristics", Journal of Criminal Psychology, Vol. 5 No. 3, pp. 188-200. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCP-06-2015-0018

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited