Research Key

The Effects of Psychological Violence on Students’ Academic Achievements in Schools in the Kumba Municipality

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International: $200
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Analytical tool
Descriptive statistics
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The purpose of this study is to investigate on the effects of psychological violence on student’s academic achievements in public schools within the Kumba Municipality.

To achieve this goal, the researcher formulated three specific research questions and three hypotheses.

The person-centered theory of Rogers (1980) and the Social Learning theory of Albert Bandura(1986) were used to bring some  clarity to the study.

The study reviewed literature related to the study under conceptual and empirical reviews to indicate that though similar studies have already been carried out in this domain, there are still some gaps that can be researched on to fill same.

The descriptive survey design was employed for this study, making use of questionnaires for data collection and descriptive statistics was used to summarize, present and analyze the data collected.  A sample comprising 200 students was randomly drawn from two public schools in the Kumba 1 and 3 council areas.

The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 23.0 was used to compute the data and the Pearson’s correlation statistical test was employed to verify the hypotheses of the study.

The major findings were to the effect that there was a high positive relationship between psychological violence and student’s academic achievements. This was statistically significant (r =0.961). There was a strong positive significant relationship between verbal abuse and students’ academic achievements statistically significant( r= 0.946).

There was a strong positive relationship between discrimination and students’ academic achievements statistically significant (r= 0.760).

There was a strong positive relationship between bullying and students’ academic achievements statistically significant (r= 0.846).

The study recommended that some awareness campaigns through workshops, seminars and conferences be organized in order to educate teachers, parents, and students on the dimensions of psychological abuse in schools; committees be set up to check the prevalence of psychological violence and possibly come up with control measures.

The administration of the questionnaire was somehow difficult as students were preoccupied with the preparation for their exams.

The researcher suggests that the sample and population of subsequent studies be increase to include other Divisions and Regions of the country to give this research more value and to be generalized.




This chapter examined the background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, hypothesis, justification, significance of the study, scope of the study and definition of terms.

Background of the study.       

Violence against children is a public health, human rights, and social problem, with potentially devastating and costly consequences.  According to Ferrara,GiuliaFranceschin, Alberto Villani and Giovanni Corsello (2019),globally, levels of violence against children are frightfully high and it is estimated that up to 1 billion children aged 2-17 years, have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence or neglect.

However, the definition of violence includes not only the more obvious violent acts of commission: at least one of the six types of interpersonal violence that tend to occur at different stages in a child’s development which are: maltreatment (including violent punishment); bullying; youth violence; intimate partner violence; sexual violence; and psychological violence.

Violence may take place in homes, orphanages, residential care facilities, on the streets, in the workplace, in prisons and other place of detention and lastly at school. However, hardly are there any studies which provided age-specific and sex-specific period prevalence estimates for psychological violence perpetrated by teachers.

Whereas children spend more time in the care of adults in schools and other places of learning than they do anywhere else outside of their homes; because of that, violence that occurs at school should be investigated to know its consequences on the child. 

These consequences can be prompt, as well as latent, and can last for years after the initial violence.

Violence in schools is one of the most visible forms of violence against children.

It includes physical, psychological and sexual violence and bullying that are related to causes such as gender and social norms and wider structural and contextual factors such as income inequality, deprivation, marginalization and conflict (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Global education digest: 2011: comparing education statistics across the world, 2011.)

In an attempt to clarify the concept of psychological violence, Murdock and Miller (2003) reviewed literatures and concluded that violence or neglect of children can be classified according to three separate categories of maltreatment: physical violence; like injuries from beatings inflicted on children by parents or guardians; sexual exploitation of a child by an adult; and psychological violence especially through the use of damaging words.  

Psychological violence which is one of the forms of violence that children experience refers to the regular and deliberate use of a range of words and non-physical actions used with the purpose to manipulate, hurt, weaken, or frighten a person mentally and emotionally and/or to distort, confuse or influence a persons’ thoughts and actions within their everyday lives, changing their sense of self and harming their wellbeing.

 According to Roman Murillio ( 2011 ) , psychological violence includes verbal and emotional abuse; isolating, rejecting, ignoring, insults, spreading rumors, making up lies, name calling, ridicule, humiliation and threats and psychological punishment which are not physical but they humiliate, denigrate, scapegoat, threaten, scare or ridicule a child or adolescent.

The Istanbul Convention (1988), defines psychological violence as ‘seriously impairing a person’s psychological integrity through coercion or threats’, however, coercion or threats can be carried out in both physical and non-physical ways.

Several studies notably Strauss (1979)have been carried out to understand the dynamics of psychological violence.

The four aspects evident in what drives psychological violence occur commonly and doesn’t always need to involve physical violence to gain power over the individual victim.  It involves a pattern of psychological manipulation, and perpetrators employ a wide range of psychological tactics often personalized to the victim to gain control.

  Psychological violence besides physical violence can be perpetrated by teachers and other staff , and it can happen in sight of other learners for example, in the playgrounds, or in the classrooms or in the context of school sports with the use of abuse, insults, verbal threats, humiliation, bullying, intimidation, ridicule threatened with weapon (Follingstad and Deltorf 2000 ).

 In the school setting, where teaching and learning take place, the importance of a child’s mental health should not be underestimated. Violence in schools create insecurity and fear which harm the general school climate and infringe on the students’ rights to learn in a safe, free and unthreatened environment.

 Excessive psychological abuse from either teachers or students can negatively affect children and may have adverse effects on their learning.

Psychological impact of violence is not easily seen. School violence that is not physical in nature, but which involve bullying, intimidation, abuse, etc. can leave deep emotional scars on the victim. The victims often develop anxiety related illnesses, depressive disorders, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and sometimes turn to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain. 

 A child may recover from physical pain and injuries, but may never recover from the terror, degradation, humiliation or breach of trust involved in psychological violence.

Note should be taken of the fact that psychological violence has been largely ignored, neglected and scarcely studied or reported yet it produces the most destructive consequences of all forms of school violence.

Studies have shown  that some students have their first experience of psychological abuse in school and this matter has been recognized as universal, complicated and persistent and is increasing but unfortunately it has not been studied decisively ( Kacker, Varadan and Kumar, 2007).

Furthermore ,  studies in psychological violence in a learning environment has also revealed that teachers are exposed to violence based on gender, marital status or experience and that there was greater incidence of junior and senior teachers being exposed to psychological violence compared to mid-career teachers (Sinha, 2013 ). 

Again, Schwartz (2000) show that the perpetration of psychological violence /abuse is often motivated by the perpetrator’s desire to exert control and destroy the victim esteem.

The impact of psychological violence on students cannot be underestimated because it might result to long time mental ill health.  Therefore schools cannot fulfill their role as a place of learning and socialization if children are not in an environment free from violence (physical, psychological, sexual).

However, there is controversy that the term psychological violence should not be advocated as an overacting term for non-physical violence but that it should feature as only cognitive and emotional elements of abuse.

However, psychological violence is as harmful to victims as physical violence and its impact have far reaching consequences on the victims and even their academic achievements, therefore researcher sets out to investigate the effects of psychological violence on students’ academic achievements in schools within the Kumba municipality.   

Statement of the Problem

In Cameroon, students suffer from the different types of psychological violence perpetrated in schools and despite the precautionary measures put in place by the school administrators to deter the perpetrators from committing such acts, there is seemingly no significant reduction in violent practices in schools.

 Moreover, incidences of psychological violence in schools notably verbal abuse, insults, verbal threats, discrimination, bullying, humiliation, intimidation, ridicule, threatened with stabbing, threatened with weapons etc, are sometimes either neglected or given very little attention compared to the other forms of school violence, yet they seem to have devastating consequences on the growth, development and performance of students.

This researcher has observed the perpetration of psychological violence in schools for quite some time now and has notice that it is a silent killer as it eats up the victims in such a way that one will hardly notice what is happening with them.

It is against this background that this researcher has been prompted to investigate on the effects of psychological violence on the academic achievement of students and to highlight the contribution of Guidance Counselors in the fight against this phenomenon.

Objectives of the Study

The general objective of the study is to find out whether psychological violence affects students’ academic achievements.

The specific objectives are;

  • To access the extent to which verbal abuse (insults) affect students’ academic achievements.
  • To investigate the extent to which discrimination affect students’ academic achievements.
  • To examine the extent to which bullying affect student’s academic achievements.

Research Questions

The main research question for this study is;

To what extent does psychological violence affect students’ academic achievements within the Kumba Municipality? and the specific research questions are:

  • To what extent does verbal abuse (insults) affect students’ academic achievements?
  • To what extent does discrimination affect students’ academic achievements?
  • To what extent does bullying affect student’s academic achievements?

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