Urban students' perceptions of the school environment's influence on school violence

Sarah Lindstrom Johnson, Jessica Griffin Burke, Andrea Carlson Gielen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This article provides information about aspects of the school environment students perceive to influence the occurrence of school violence. Concept mapping, a mixed-methods methodology, was used with two groups of urban, primarily African American high school students (N = 27) to create conceptual frameworks of their understanding of the school social and physical environment's influence on school violence. Each group of students identified over 50 different ways they perceived that their school environment contributed to school violence. These ideas were categorized into six main topics: student behaviors, norms of behavior, relationships with school staff, learning environment, school safety, and neighborhood environment. Students' perceptions supported the current conceptualization of the role of the school environment in school violence. However, this study supplements the current literature by identifying school-level aspects of the social and physical environment that contribute to students perceptions of the safety of their school. At this level, differences were seen between the two school environments, indicating a need for intervention tailoring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-102
Number of pages11
JournalChildren and Schools
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • African American
  • concept mapping
  • high school
  • school environment
  • violence prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Education


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