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School Climate Predictors of School Disorder: Results From a National Study of Delinquency Prevention in Schools

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2005
33 pages
This study examined the association between school crime and structural characteristics of the school and community as well as the association between school disorder and school climate.
Previous research has examined a variety of factors associated with school characteristics to predict an assortment of problem behaviors. Some of these studies have suggested that malleable school organizational characteristics are related to the level of school disorder beyond the impact of external determinants. The current study explored the relationship between school organizational characteristics and school crime and disorder, net of community and school compositional variables. Data were drawn from the National Study of Delinquency Prevention in Schools survey, which collected both teacher and student responses from a nationally representative sample of 254 secondary schools. School disorder variables included teacher victimization, student victimization, and student delinquency. School climate variables were fairness of rules, clarity of rules, organizational focus, morale, planning, and administrative leadership. Structural variables under analysis included percentage of African-American students, percentage of male students, student enrollment, number of different students taught, community poverty and disorganization, residential crowding, and urbanicity. Results of structural equation modeling indicated that schools with greater perceived fairness and clarity of rules had lower student delinquency and victimization; no effect was found for teacher victimization. Alternatively, schools with more positive psychosocial climates had lower teacher victimization but no effects were found for student victimization or delinquency. Future research should examine this issue using longitudinal research and should incorporate evaluations of school-change interventions. Figures, tables, appendix, notes, references

Date Published: November 1, 2005