School violence is not an isolated American concern but a widespread social problem that threatens the health, achievement, and well-being of all students.
And although the most highly published incidents involve serious physical violence, less serious forms of physical aggression and psychological violence (including harassment, bullying, and relational aggression) present far more prevalent and persistent problems.
Investigators believe the social climate in class and in a school has a significant effect on the prevalence of violence in schools. But a lack of clear definitions and the absence of empirically validated measures of school climate (culture) have resulted in findings that are often difficult to interpret.
In the new study, University of Luxembourg reviewed a collection of research studies to determine if a relationship exists between the school climate or culture and school violence.
Psychologist Dr. Georges Steffgen and colleagues performed the meta-analysis reviewing 36 independent studies. Their analysis showed a moderate negative relationship between students’ perception of school climate and violence.
Students’ characteristics such as age, and gender, as well as school size and school grade do not influence this relationship.
These results suggest there is a relationship between school climate and violence and that changes in the school environment could probably reduce violent behavior.
The findings are published in the journal Aggression and Violent Behavior.
According to Steffgen, “The research shows that implementing school educational and social functions do play a role, overturning the idea that violent perpetrators are themselves all alone responsible for school violence.”
Researchers believe the discovery that school culture plays a role in individual student violence means educators and administrators can develop programs to improve the academic environment and lessen school violence.
Source: University of Luxembourg