Discuss the effects of short-ter

Discuss the effects of short-term and long‑term exposure to violence

Stress and coping


  • Individuals who are exposed to violence short-term (e.g. in terrorist attacks, natural disasters, school shootings, or other traumatic events) or long-term (e.g. victims of bullying) will typically exhibit a stress response that includes fear and physiological arousal partly due to secretion of stress hormones and activation of the amygdala (fear centre).
  • The fight or flight response is a pattern of physiological arousal that prepares humans (and animals) to react to emergency situations. Normally stress responses are short-lived but with long-term exposure to stressors humans are not able to return to normal physiological functioning. This could develop into chronic stress and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Effects of short-term exposure to violence (terrorism)

Terrorism includes attacks on civilians with the purpose of injuring or killing as many as possible. Being exposed to violent terrorist attacks may result in depression and long-term PTSD partly because terrorist attacks could lead to a perception of continuous threat to one’s safety and well-being.

Studies to use: Shalev (1995)  and/or Schuster et al. (2001)

Effects of long-term exposure to violence (bullying)

The case of bullying

  • Cyber bullying and depression: Wang et al. (2010) found that victims of cyber bullying had higher levels of depression than victims of face-to-face bullying. About 14% had experienced cyber bullying. Boys and girls are equally vulnerable. Cyber bullying seems to be particularly hurtful because the abuse is spread much wider through the social media and victims do not know how many people may have seen it.
  • Long-term exposure to bullying and depression: Hyman (1990) argues that long-term exposure to school victimization (bullying) can severely affect a child’s daily functioning, including school performance. It affects the child’s future psychological health and may lead to depression and PTSD.

Study to use: Carney and Hazler (2007)