183536 Rethinking the School Environment's Role in School Violence Prevention: Suggestions from Students

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 9:15 AM

Sarah Renee Lindstrom Johnson, BS , Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
School violence impacts the social, psychological, and physical well-being of both students and teachers and disrupts the learning process. While research has suggested an association between the school social and physical environment and violence, less is known about the specific aspects of this environment that contribute to violence or their mechanism of impact. This research elicited these specifics from those who know them best, students. Concept mapping sessions were conducted with 5 geographically diverse groups of Baltimore City public high school students. Students generated statements about the school social and physical environment's contribution to violence and gave a rating of each statement's importance for the initiation, cessation, and severity of violence that occurs in schools. Using multi-dimensional scaling, cluster analysis, and student input, students' information was combined to create a conceptual framework. This conceptual framework gives information about the specific aspects of the environment that encourage violence as well as how those aspects group together, elucidating possible mechanisms of impact. Further explanations of impact mechanisms can be gained when analyzing students' ratings of importance for the initiation and cessation of violence. These ratings can assist researchers and schools in making decisions about possible intervention points. Additional information based on ratings for importance of severity can allow intervention efforts to target specific types of violence. These conceptual frameworks indicate the importance of the school environment in preventing school violence and are a useful tool for researchers and administrators alike aiming to reduce violence and improve students' educational experience.

Learning Objectives:
1.List various aspects of the school social and physical environment that students believe encourage violence. 2.Draw how students conceptualize the relationship between these aspects (grouped into clusters). 3.Assess each clusters role in preventing the initiation of violence or in encouraging its cessation. 4.Assess each clusters role in determining the severity of violence that occurs in the school. 5.Identify 3 possible changes to the school environment based on desired preventation outcomes.

Keywords: School Health, Youth Violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: - Conducted extensive literature reviews on the topics of school violence education programs and the environment's role in encouraging violece - Taken training seminars on concept mapping - Facilitated concept mapping sessions with adolescents - Participated in research addressing prevention efforts directed at adolescent tobacco use and pregnancy prevention - Participated in research evaluating the effectiveness of child safety interventions
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.