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Avoidance Behavior as a Response to In-School Victimization

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1994
14 pages
Using secondary data analysis of self-reports from the National Crime Victimization Survey, School Crime Supplement (SCS), conducted during January-June 1989, this study addressed the use of victimization avoidance behavior at school and what influenced avoidance behavior among students.
A total of 15,353 youths were included in the survey, of which 10,343 were in school for at least 1 of the prior 6 months. The sample included a fairly even distribution of male (49.7 percent) and female (50.3 percent) respondents, and about 83 percent of respondents were white. The SCS included 10 questions dealing with separate avoidance behaviors, such as staying home due to fear of attack and avoiding certain places associated with school. The dependent variable was avoidance behavior, while primary independent variables were victimization and fear. Exploratory factor analysis and regression techniques were employed to evaluate results. In terms of avoidance, victimization displayed only a weak relationship and, more importantly, in the opposite direction to that expected. As victimization increased, avoidance behavior decreased. Perceptions clearly played a major role in respondent behavior, independent of the actual risk involved. Fear explained more variation in avoidance measures than any other predictor. Youths from smaller towns and more rural locations tended to avoid school settings more than youths in larger areas. Older youths took avoidance precautions more often than younger students, and youths who perceived greater danger at school tended to use avoidance precautions. Implications of the study findings for school and social policies are discussed. 21 references, 1 endnote, and 2 tables

Date Published: January 1, 1994