American Journal of Criminal Justice

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 12–29

The Joy of Violence: What about Violence is Fun in Middle-School?


DOI: 10.1007/s12103-007-9011-1

Cite this article as:
Kerbs, J.J. & Jolley, J.M. Am J Crim Just (2007) 32: 12. doi:10.1007/s12103-007-9011-1


Violence prevention programs that aim to ameliorate or eliminate school-based violence (student-on-student victimization) often assume that students, like adults, regard school-based violence as aversive, harmful, problematic, and without any redeeming value. Nonetheless, students may experience violence as fun or enjoyable at school, and they may not see a reason to prevent violence if it brings them joy on some level. This study examined qualitative data from 30 face-to-face interviews with students (grades 6–8) in a single middle school. Content analyses clarified the social contexts in which students experience violence as fun, not fun, or a mixture of both. The results suggested that 70% of all sampled students reported enjoyable experiences with school-based violence. Conclusions examined the implications of these findings for prevention programs; future research is needed to correct for the methodological limitations of this study and others.


SchoolsViolenceVictimizationBullyingPerceptionsQualitative research

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Criminal Justice, College of Human EcologyEast Carolina UniversityGreenvilleUSA
  2. 2.George Warren Brown School of Social WorkWashington UniversitySt. LouisUSA