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Abstract

The first impression created in the minds of people who hear about aggression and bullying in learning institutions are images of direct physical infliction upon some else. Nevertheless, there are countless ways that young people especially girls use to cause pain in their peers. Verbal conflict is one of the ways that demonstrate aggression in girls even though they do not engage in physical confrontations and fights (Simmons, 2011). This involves also calling of names to deliberately insult and hurt the victims. There are other forms of Aggression such as school bullying and cyber bullying that will be looked at in this paper.

This paper aims at addressing the correlation between race and violence among young females. The research will entail carrying out a study on a group of young women from White, Black, Hispanic and Asian origins. The paper will further address other underlying social economic factors that propagate violent activities among teenage girls. This research is chiefly intended to collect qualitative data and establish whether the type and degree of adolescent female violence vary with race. As earlier mentioned, the age group that will be used will include females between the age of 12 and 18 respectively. After carrying out the interview, the analysis of data will be conducted qualitatively implying that data will be analyzed in accordance to the results from the interview.

Introduction

Advancement in technology has overcome geographical barriers and paved way for effective passage of information from one party to another even when they are distantly positioned. Consequently, social networking sites such as Facebook and tweeter among others have allowed aggressive girls to bully peers more effectively (Simmons, 2011). They are able to manipulate others in order to attack another person even when they are not physically involved in the attack. Social networking sites make it possible for them to extend rumour about other people or even influence others to hate another person (Owens, n.d).

There is a high level of interaction of girl’s lives both in the virtual and real worlds. During the day, most of the teen girls are together in schools and this interaction is extended through use of mobile phones and social sites. This is where cyber bullying gains precedence (Simmons, 2011).  It is a form of aggression where a person uses the internet and other linked communication technologies such as cell phones to hurt other people in a repetitive and more intimidating ways.

Cyber bullying is expressed through many ways but the most common ones involve sending information in form of emails, or texts through a computing device to other people with the intention of insulting or threatening them (Simmons, 2011). For instance, a child can receive a text message threatening to kill him and his family. It also involves spreading gossip about a person through social networking sites and other related communication platforms. The teens have more time to poke into one another’s lives through these innovative ways of communication (Simmons, 2011). They have access to confidential information about their peers which they can manipulate to bully them.

In addition, during this time, the individual is preoccupied with ways of attaining social acceptance as well as the impression the person creates towards other people. Increased self-awareness helps the female teens to discover and coagulate their senses of self and position in the society. They are able to understand how various natural forces align themselves to allow people behave and react to different natural occurrences.

Objectives of the research

This research aims at achieving the following objectives

  1. To ascertain the proposition that race affects the level of violence among female adolescents
  2. To find out to the importance of studying aggression among girls as well as the underlying causes of violence among female adolescents
  3. To give recommendations on the ways of reducing this type of violence

Literature review

There are a number of scholars who have been interested by this phenomenon. Previous scholarly work on this subject has shown that victims of bullying undergo harsh psychological and emotional traumas. In the past couple of years, learning institutions and the community at large have seen significant rise in the number of reported violent cases. The most recent one is concerned with the death of a fifteen year old girl in Massachusetts who hanged herself following an alleged constant bullying from her peers.

Phoebe Prince’s Case

The fifteen year old girl was a daughter to Jeremy and Anne Prince who had newly settled in Massachusetts from Ireland. Phoebe had a hard time in school after other students bullied her persistently for over four months before she eventually hanged herself at their home (Finley, 2011). She was reported to have dated a senior soccer player who was alleged to be another girl’s boyfriend. She was insulted verbally in school as well as over the cell phone and still pursued on the internet. Furthermore, harassing messages were frequently posted on her Facebook wall. She was also physically bullied and threatened.

Since then, six teens were charged in court with offence that led to Phoebe’s death following the alleged bullying. Currently, cyber bullying is more rampant than can be thought of. It is the order of the day in most of the learning institutions (Finley, 2011). Many children and adults are falling victims of this epidemic. Its effects cause emotional torture to the victims as they try to adjust to the level of aggression directed to them.

Lessons Learnt from this Case

Phoebe’s case is just but a representation of many other victims who are being tormented by their peers. It is therefore important for responsible stakeholder to mend the ribbon before it is too late. As a matter of fact, there are lessons to be learnt from this (Finley, 2011). Since social aggression among girls is habit that females grow with, it would be hard to eliminate the vice from the society. Instead, the best thing to do is for teachers to liaise with the necessary authorities and control how their children use internet and their mobile phones (Simmons, 2007). As soon as a possible threat is observed being directed towards a certain child, necessary action should be taken to save her.

 Also, the girls should be counselled and advised to report to their parents and teachers whenever they are insulted or threatened by their peers. This is because most of them do not disclose that they are being bullied out of fear from their tormentors. All girls suffer from a feeling of defencelessness and should be protected (Simmons, 2007). Such matters should not be taken lightly but instead handled professionally and with great care to avoid subsequent harm on the victim.

According to the information from the United States office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, arrest cases of girls increased within a decade from 1991 to 2000. Such aggressive behaviours are not only passed from parents. Instead, the girls learn a lot form their peers and through sources such as mass media. It has been observed that adolescent girls prefer to watch television programs that portray aggression in relationships. Consequently, the girls have much pain to absorb from any form of aggression directed towards them (Owens, n.d).  At the same time, they learn other ways of expressing aggression to their peers and how to manage it.

Naturally, girls are motivated to allege dominance over others through aggression. Therefore, they are obliged to look for ways that inhibit healthy relationships. Nowadays, it is a common practice in schools to find some girls who fall victim of bullying by their peers to stay in secluded places. Some of them take their meals in hide outs while others stay in class even during breaks when they are supposed to be playing with their peers (Simmons, 2011). This is because they are afraid to meet their peers who tease and harass them.

The high levels of violence among young women are linked to underlying social and economic factors that will be discussed below.

Poverty and unemployment

Increased poverty rates among young females coupled with constrained availability of economic resources is a possible predisposing factor to violence. Economic marginalization has greatly affected young females who are left with limited options on their sources of income. In case the young females do not get a good and well paying job, they become vulnerable to criminal and violent acts (HOWARD, 2001). Young females of black and Hispanic origins are mostly secluded when it comes to accessing decent jobs hence the prevalence rates of violence among these groups than their white counterparts.

Family violence

It has been established that girls who are raised in families where domestic violence is evident, they are more likely to indulge themselves in aggressive activities. The girls grow in violent environments which develops aggressive behaviours in them as a defensive mechanism. Most of the time, they copy verbal abuses from what they observe their parents do. Sometimes they become victims of sexual, verbal and physical abuse. It is apparent that family dynamics play critical role in propagating and sustaining aggressive behaviours in lives of the young girls. Research has shown that young females who were neglected by their parents were more likely to be violent than those who were well cared for. This observation was common across all racial groups that are included in this research. Girls, who were sexually abused especially by their close relatives in their formative years, turn out aggressive later in their lives.

Peer influence

Previous research has established a strong connection between violence and peer influence. Young females who are known for violence are most likely to indulge in aggressive behaviours if their peers are in similar acts. Peer influence cuts across gender boundaries. For instance, when girls get involved in male criminal groups, it is a result of peer influence from their other associates within the cohort. The role of girls in such groups is to suppress the male violence and appeal to their emotions as a trap to being a victim of a criminal activity (HOWARD, 2001). Due to peer influence, the young females from all the racial groups were found to join gangs. They are driven by economic and ethnic as well as racial marginalization. Some of them still do have an intrinsic urge to engage in crime.

Psychological factors

Depressed people are mostly lonely, thereby spending most of their time in secluded places. In addition to this, there are individuals who develop antisocial behaviour which is mostly evident during adolescence and sometimes progresses to adulthood. Research has established some correlation between such antisocial behaviours and prevalence of violence among young women. A research that was carried out to address the causes of violence among young women found out that about 90 percent of violent girls had a bad conduct disorder (HOWARD, 2001). Also, women who were found to experience suicidal thoughts from all the groups considered in this research were diagnosed with depression and traumatic conditions. 

Apparently, all the above risk factors cut across all the racial groups considered in the research. Therefore, they are common and underlying factors that lead to violent activities. However, due to some racial groups being more vulnerable to these factors than others, race becomes a contributing factor to violence among young females.

How the Media has Sexualized Social Aggression

The way media handles various matters pertaining social issues has a lot of impact on the modern society. Media contributes a lot to shaping values and points of views of various social issues. It carries with it great authority while delivering information to the public (Finley, 2011). The influence of media on girls’ identity and development is very critical during the adolescence. Teen age is the period when the girls recognize and build up their own identity. Therefore, when the media especially television broadcast programs that contain characters with certain stereotypes, they contribute further in cementing the viewers’ beliefs (Simmons, 2011).

Concerning social aggression, the girls grow with the belief that aggression is part of their lives. They get fun in doing it since they the society acknowledges the practice. The fact that mass media is a great tool to propagate societal beliefs cannot be downplayed. Girls are easily influenced by the information from mass media avenues of communication (Finley, 2011). They end up copying behaviours they find interesting from the media without knowing the magnitude of their implications. Phoebe Prince’s story is a practical illustration of how young females are at risk of falling victims of bullying and other forms of aggression in schools. An intervention is therefore needed to save them from more harm (Mail Foreign Service, 2010).

Conceptual framework

The idea of having or not having a behaviour that is considered as the norm is of great significance to consider when evaluating the trend in levels of violent acts among young females in the society. Aggressiveness among young women is evident in the modern society and as a result, there is need to understand the best approaches to use in managing this vice (Carrillo-Bennett, 2009).

In order to understand this phenomenon, a number of theories have been formulated. One of them is known as the Vygotskian theory of constructionism. It is a component of the learning theory which explains how people learn how to interact with surrounding. Further elaboration of this theory shows how a learned is transformed into a future behaviour in an individual. Groups consist of individuals who understand and interpret ideas differently. It is these ideas from such groups that end up making societal acceptable norms (Carrillo-Bennett, 2009). This theory emphasises the importance of communication in the development of new ideas.

Propagation of violence by female adolescents is a problem that has been presented by responsible authorities in the society such as the media, parents and other professionals. The Vygotskian theory of constructivism looks at how demographic factors in the early life of girls influence their violent acts later during their teen age (Carrillo-Bennett, 2009). Children become more compliant with collectively accepted norms if they receive stable support from their parents during their formative years. Therefore, the family unit plays a very pivotal role in shaping the behaviour of girls later in their lives. 

The proposed methods of examination

This research is chiefly intended to collect qualitative data and establish whether the type and degree of adolescent female violence vary with race. As earlier mentioned, the age cohorts that will be under consideration include the females between the age of 12 and 18 respectively. The racial groups to be considered are the Whites, Blacks, Hispanic and the Asian. All these characteristics will be studied in association with the objectives of the study, outlined earlier in this document. As such, the study will be investigative with its main intention being provision of explanations on the different reasons that contribute to female adolescents committing violence. This will be achieved by considering the cultures, economic background, parenting and the level of exposure among many others earlier mentioned. This will provide ideas on the various steps that can be taken to reduce if not completely eliminate violent activities among female adolescents. To increase feasibility of the research, a one-on-one interview with some teenagers would be crucial to listen to their views and opinions, which would act as feedback to the aims of the research.

The one-on-one interview with the respondents will be expected to provide information on the various factors that prod them to engage into violence. This will be of paramount importance, as it will provide information on the trends that can be followed in planning for achievement. Additionally, it is supposed to answer the question of how to embrace and enforce the law appropriately for the adolescents in order to minimize aggression among them. To overcome challenges that are likely to be associated with this research, serious precautions will be taken into account in order to heighten the credibility of the research. In addition to this, care will be taken to ensure that the personnel, carrying out the research, are qualified and experts in that field, hence, minimize the likelihood of collecting either a lot of unnecessary info or too little and leaving omitting some necessary information.

Some of the challenges, associated with qualitative research, like data load due to the usage of open-ended questions will be overcome by ensuring that they are clear, correct, accurate and precise, guaranteeing that they are direct unto the point. In efforts to reduce the cost and waste of time budgeting will only include the necessary equipments and leave out others that could not be so crucial, presenting the results in a clear graspable language that can be comprehended by the other people will be a special way to eliminate complexity and make the research beneficial to the others (Horrocks & King, 2009). In addition, this will also ensure that no time will be wasted, clarifying questions to the respondents or defining vocabularies and jargons to them.

Sampling

Sampling of the respondents will be done, focusing on their race and age. This has the implication that only those that fit within the 12-18 years age group and belong to either Whites, Blacks, Hispanic or the Asian racial groups will be qualified. Consideration of the involvement of an individual to violence will be yet another important factor to be put into reflection. This follows the obvious notion that teenagers that have been convicted for committing serious crimes are likely to provide first hand information on what they think makes them commit such transgressions. The assaulted can also provide some information that can add value to that, offered by the assailants. In the research, a sample frame of both the assailants and the assaulted will be obtained from different walks of life all over the United States. From this frame, a sample of fifty teenagers will be selected for the research, depending on their intelligence, eloquence and personal encounters. The sampling will target the most efficient group of people in order to save time and acquire both high quality and quantity information, relevant to the research.

Random sampling will be used to avoid any potential chances of partiality and ensure that the respondents are well balanced in terms of race. Acquisition of information from adolescents of all the four earlier mentioned groups is important because it provides ample information on the different kinds of impressions that different people have on the type and degree of adolescent female violence. The reason for using both the violence and the assaulted is because they are more conversant with the various causes of violence and might have proposals on what can be done to reduce such brutalities and resume a harmonious living with each other. They are, therefore, likely to provide information on how the media can be used to reach majority of the adolescents and consequently notify them on how to avoid being victimized. The use of a high number of fifty people would be important in the sense that it would make comparison of information from the different respondents possible, thus, increasing the credibility of the results (Seidman, 2006).

Instrumentation

The entire research will solely be reliant on two major instruments for data collection; interview questions and questionnaires, which are to be filled during and after the interview. The structured interview type will be preferred to the other types due to its evident standardization quality. The method is more fixed than the others having a special guide of questions to follow, when conducting the interview (Kajornboon, 2005). The interview is conducted differently with the interviewees being encouraged to talk frankly, openly and provide as much information as possible. This method will enable the respondents to express their opinions and share their knowledge and experiences, thus, providing answers to the aims of the research. However, caution will be taken to ensure that the preset questions are adhered to preventing the respondents from wandering off the main topic. All respondents will be expected to provide answers to similar questions.

Data analysis

After carrying out the interview, the analysis of data will be conducted qualitatively, implying that data will be analyzed in accordance to the results from the interview (Horrocks & King, 2009). To make this easier, a summary of the focus group will be formed as soon as possible after every interview has been conducted. Noting of the practical data like the time, venue, respondents and the duration that each respondent was interviewed will be included in the analysis.

The proposed time frame of the work

While carrying out research, time is a very important factor that ought to be considered. To prevent wasting it, the following tentative schedule will be used:

Timeline

7 weeks before deadline

7 weeks before deadline

7 weeks before deadline

4 weeks before deadline

Activity

Design questionnaires and interview schedules

Collection of sample frame and selection of random sample

Refine the questionnaires and interview schedules

Giving the questionnaires and conducting interviews

By whom

Research director

Research assistants

Research assistants

Research assistants

 

Timeline

4 weeks before deadline

4 weeks before deadline

2 weeks before deadline

Deadline

Activity

Collect the questionnaires from the respondents

Tabulate, consolidate and analyze the data

Summarize the findings and produce charts

Submit the results

By whom

Research assistants

Research team

Research team

Research director

 

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