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Investigating Impulsivity as a Root Cause of School Violence: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $499,872)

The purpose of this project is to investigate impulsivity as a root cause of school violence. Impulsivity is a strong and consistent predictor of subsequent undesirable outcomes throughout the lifespan, including involvement in school violence. Major gaps in the literature, however, remain. First, existing research has been limited to cross-sectional studies. Does the collective evidence suggest impulsivity is a root cause of school violence perpetration and/or victimization when focusing on longitudinal associations? Second, impulsivity may relate to school violence perpetration differently than school violence victimization. Therefore, we ask: Is the predictive validity of impulsivity for school violence stronger for perpetration than victimization? Third, impulsivity is a broad construct with many conceptualizations, definitions, and methods of measurement. Which measures and methods of assessing impulsivity are most predictive of subsequent school violence? Finally, is the predictive validity of impulsivity for school violence moderated by various contexts and samples, such as children in poverty and children of color?

In response to the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ’s) Research and Evaluation on School Safety, Fiscal Year 2022 Competitive Research Grants Program (CFDA 16.560), the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and the Methods of Synthesis and Integration Center (MOSAIC) at AIR, in partnership with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH), propose a systematic review and meta-analysis to better understand longitudinal associations between impulsivity and subsequent outcomes related to school violence. Specifically, over the course of 24 months, we will comprehensively search online electronic databases for studies documenting longitudinal associations between impulsivity and subsequent outcomes related to school violence. We will then screen studies for relevance, determine a final set of eligible studies, and extract statistical and study-level information. The results of the search and data extraction process will yield a dataset that includes effect sizes, effect size variances, and study characteristics. From this dataset, we will conduct a quantitative synthesis, using state-of-the-art meta-analytic methods and drawing on the methodological and statistical expertise of our team and partners. We will then prepare researcher- and practitioner-ready reports based on our findings and archive our meta-analytic dataset through the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research. The results of this investigation will provide new insights to researchers, educators, and policymakers seeking to incorporate impulsivity into existing screening and threat assessment efforts to promote school safety. This work will also inform new ways for program developers to refine violence prevention curricula to focus on impulsivity and related factors in order to reduce involvement in school violence among at-risk children and to improve school safety for all students.

Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law," and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR  200.210(a)(14). CA/NCF

Date Created: September 16, 2022