U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Investigating Root Causes of School Violence: A Case-Control Study of School Violence Offenders, Non-School Youth Violence Offenders, and Non-Offending Youths

NCJ Number
Date Published
46 pages

This case-control study investigated the root cause of school violence by identifying factors distinguishing school shooters from non-school offenders and non-offending youth.


This project investigated the root causes of school shootings using a case-control methodology to identify factors that distinguish school shooters. This study addressed these gaps in understanding of risk factors for school shooters by using data from a systematically collected open-source database that includes all known adolescent school shooters who injured at least one person on school grounds in the U.S. between 1990 and 2020. The authors enhanced these data to include two vital comparison groups: adolescents committing shootings in the community outside school grounds as well as non-offending students. The researchers also incorporated data from the FBI's Supplementary Homicide Reports (SHR), part of the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program, covering the period from 1990 to 2019, the latest available dataset for additional comparisons. The study employed a case-control research design to provide a deeper understanding of how school shooter offenders compare to the two comparison groups. The researchers captured offender-level constructs from leading criminology theories. 

Date Published: January 1, 2023