ORCID Identifier(s)


Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


Social Work

First Advisor

Donna Schuman

Second Advisor

Yasmin K AlZubi


Prolonged exposure to violence may result in habituation or desensitization, which has negative impacts. Desensitization to real-life violence is a reduced initial arousal response to real-life violence. Real-life violence includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, peer violence, and community violence. Children who have been exposed to violence-related adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are more likely to achieve violence desensitization, by definition. As a result of ACEs, children are at risk of mental health complications, health-related problems, and risk for maladaptive behavior. Children who have reached violence desensitization are more likely to exhibit externalized symptoms such as aggression and criminal actions. In efforts to reverse the effects of real-life violence desensitization, this study proposes a systematic review to answer the following question: Is there any evidence of the effects of psychoeducation on empathy to reverse the impacts of real-life violence desensitization in children, aged 18 or younger, who are exhibiting aggressive behavior? To answer the research question, this systematic review will follow PRISMA and JBI guidelines to ensure research rigor in screening relevant studies and extracting pertinent data before analysis. A comprehensive electronic search will be performed to identify eligible studies completed since 1995, and indexed in APA PsychINFO, CINAHL Complete, Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection, and Social Work Abstracts. The participants, intervention, comparison, outcomes inclusion criteria will be used to define inclusion and exclusion criteria in a known strategy for framing a clinically focused research question. Findings will be narratively synthesized and will not consist of any other analyses. This is the first known systematic review that examines the existence of the effects of empathy psychoeducation to reverse real-life violence desensitization effects. Results of the review are anticipated to inform mental health and healthcare practices to minimize externalized symptoms of violent-related ACEs and violence desensitization.


Social learning, Child health, Social neuroscience, Traumatic experience, Violence desensitization, Mental health


Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Work


Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

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