Violence is not a new phenomenon in the modern educational system. It is manifested in the form of rioting, sexual violence, fighting and bullying. The purpose of this study is to establish teachers’ and students’ perceptions of psychological factors contributing to violent behavior among public secondary school students in the western province of Kenya. The study was based on the social learning theory by Albert Bandura and a descriptive survey research design was adopted. The study population was composed of 638 principals, 6,354 teachers and 65,969 form two students. Stratified random sampling technique was used to select students from 213 secondary schools, while purposive sampling technique was used to select teachers. Questionnaires and in-depth interview guide was used to collect data from the respondents and a pilot study was carried out to establish the reliability and validity of the data collection instruments. However, qualitative data were transcribed and reported according to emerging themes, while quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics such as frequency counts, means and percentages. As such, inferential statistics such as t-test and Mann-Whitney U test were applied. The findings of the study indicated that forms of violence in schools included: sexual violence, rioting, bullying and fighting, while the perceived psychological factors contributing to violent behavior were: anxiety problems, ethnic violence, mental problems and fear of being punished. Generally, analysis of the problem revealed that students, regardless of their gender and/or type of school they attended, perceived causes of violence alike. Recommendations of the study were that: guidance and counseling should be reinforced in schools, students with mental and psychological disorders should be referred to medical doctors and psychiatrists, ban on caning of students should be encouraged, proper communication channels ought to be established in order to maintain a tranquil environment in schools and ranking of schools by Kenya National Examination council should be abolished.
Key words: Aggression, perception, perceived factors, psychological factors, violent behavior.
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