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Confronting School Violence: A Synthesis of Six Decades of Research

NCJ Number
Date Published
98 pages

This comprehensive meta-analysis of research studies of school violence conducted during the last 60 years reviews how researchers from diverse academic fields have approached the investigation of school violence and victimization theoretically and empirically, followed by a discussion of the implications of the findings for theory, research, and policy in countering school violence.




In 761 studies, the relative effects of 30 individual, school, and community correlates of school violence were examined. Violence and victimization were broadly conceptualized to include forms of aggression and crime at school. The strongest correlates of school violence were antisocial behavior, deviant peers, antisocial attitudes, victimization, and peer rejection. The strongest correlates of school victimization were prior/other victimization, social competence, risk avoidance, antisocial behavior, and peer rejection. Broadly, there is a tendency for the research on school violence to follow the traditions of the academic disciplines of the researchers; however, there is some interdisciplinary scholarship. This review of the research advises that it is critical to transcend disciplinary boundaries in determining the most important correlates of school violence. A large body of interdisciplinary scholarship emphasizes ecological factors, such as school climate, which can shape the norms, values, rules, and structure of a school.  Schools with a positive climate are characterized by peer support, the lessening of peer rejection, and the fostering of caring and supportive student-to-student and teacher-to-student interactions. Such a school climate assists in ameliorating the impact of childhood trauma and victimization, which are central in the study of school violence across multiple disciplines. 8 tables and extensive references

Date Published: January 1, 2022