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National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Violent Incidents Among Selected Public School Students in Two Large Cities of the South and the Southern Midwest, 1995: [United States] (ICPSR 2027) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

This study of violent incidents among middle- and high-school students focused not only on the types and frequency of these incidents, but also on their dynamics -- the locations, the opening moves, the relationship between the disputants, the goals and justifications of the aggressor, the role of third parties, and other factors. For this study, violence was defined as an act carried out with the intention, or perceived intention, of physically injuring another person, and the "opening move" was defined as the action of a respondent, antagonist, or third party that was viewed as beginning the violent incident. Data were obtained from interviews with 70 boys and 40 girls who attended public schools with populations that had high rates of violence. About half of the students came from a middle school in an economically disadvantaged African-American section of a large southern city. The neighborhood the school served, which included a public housing project, had some of the country's highest rates of reported violent crime. The other half of the sample were volunteers from an alternative high school attended by students who had committed serious violations of school rules, largely involving illegal drugs, possession of handguns, or fighting. Many students in this high school, which is located in a large city in the southern part of the Midwest, came from high-crime areas, including public housing communities. The interviews were open-ended, with the students encouraged to speak at length about any violent incidents in school, at home, or in the neighborhood in which they had been involved. The 110 interviews yielded 250 incidents and are presented as text files, Parts 3 and 4. The interview transcriptions were then reduced to a quantitative database with the incident as the unit of analysis (Part 1). Incidents were diagrammed, and events in each sequence were coded and grouped to show the typical patterns and sub-patterns in the interactions. Explanations the students offered for the violent-incident behavior were grouped into two categories: (1) "justifications," in which the young people accepted responsibility for their violent actions but denied that the actions were wrong, and (2) "excuses," in which the young people admitted the act was wrong but denied responsibility. Every case in the incident database had at least one physical indicator of force or violence. The respondent-level file (Part 2) was created from the incident-level file using the AGGREGATE procedure in SPSS. Variables in Part 1 include the sex, grade, and age of the respondent, the sex and estimated age of the antagonist, the relationship between respondent and antagonist, the nature and location of the opening move, the respondent's response to the opening move, persons present during the incident, the respondent's emotions during the incident, the person who ended the fight, punishments imposed due to the incident, whether the respondent was arrested, and the duration of the incident. Additional items cover the number of times during the incident that something was thrown, the respondent was pushed, slapped, or spanked, was kicked, bit, or hit with a fist or with something else, was beaten up, cut, or bruised, was threatened with a knife or gun, or a knife or gun was used on the respondent. Variables in Part 2 include the respondent's age, gender, race, and grade at the time of the interview, the number of incidents per respondent, if the respondent was an armed robber or a victim of an armed robbery, and whether the respondent had something thrown at him/her, was pushed, slapped, or spanked, was kicked, bit, or hit with a fist or with something else, was beaten up, was threatened with a knife or gun, or had a knife or gun used on him/her.

Access Notes

  • One or more files in this study are not available for download due to special restrictions ; consult the restrictions note to learn more. You can apply online for access to the data. A login is required to apply for access.

    Access to these data is restricted. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete a Restricted Data Use Agreement, specify the reasons for the request, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.

Dataset(s)

DS0:  Study-Level Files
Documentation:
DS1:  Incident-Level Data - Download All Files (0.5 MB)
DS2:  Respondent-Level Data - Download All Files (0.3 MB)
DS3:  Text of Interviews with Alternative High School Students
Download:
No downloadable data files available.
DS4:  Text of Interviews with Middle School Students
Download:
No downloadable data files available.

Study Description

Citation

Lockwood, Daniel. Violent Incidents Among Selected Public School Students in Two Large Cities of the South and the Southern Midwest, 1995: [United States]. ICPSR02027-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2012-08-22. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR02027.v1

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)

Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (94-IJ-CX-0062)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   crime in schools, juvenile offenders, middle schools, neighborhoods, public housing, school violence, schools, urban crime

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1995

Date of Collection:  

  • 1995

Unit of Observation:   Part 1: incident, Parts 2-4: individual.

Universe:   Students in the selected public middle school and alternative high school.

Data Types:   survey data, and machine-readable text

Data Collection Notes:

Parts 3 and 4 are machine-readable text files, transcriptions of tape-recorded conversations with students.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   Adolescent violence is partly attributable to escalating sequences of events in incidents that culminate in outcomes unintended by the participants. Although the young people who engage in violence often do not intend the outcome, they nevertheless suffer the consequences -- either the harm that comes from the victimization or from the punishment that comes from being the aggressor. The problem is increasing because, while the rates of some types of violent crimes are declining, the risk of being a victim of this type of crime has risen since the mid-1980s among juveniles aged 12 to 17. Little research has been conducted on the nature of violent interactions among middle- and high-school students, especially qualitative ethnographic studies conducted from a "social interactionist" perspective, which explains behavior though the analysis of interaction among people. Therefore, this study of violent incidents among middle- and high-school students focused not only on the types and frequency of these incidents, but also on their dynamics -- the locations, the "opening moves," the relationship between disputants, the goals and justifications of the aggressor, the role of third parties, and other factors. For this study, violence was defined as an act carried out with the intention, or perceived intention, of physically injuring another person, and the "opening move" was defined as the action of a respondent, antagonist, or third party that was viewed as beginning the violent incident. The violent incidents were analyzed to create general models of the sequence or pattern of events in the interactions among disputants. Information about the typical steps that culminate in violent incidents, the most common locations where the incidents take place, and how the disputants and others are related can be used in designing and improving violence prevention programs. The patterns of events identified can also indicate areas for intervention, with a focus on the opening moves.

Study Design:   Data were obtained from interviews with 70 boys and 40 girls who attended public schools with populations that had high rates of violence. The interviews were open-ended, with the students encouraged to speak at length about any violent incidents in school, at home, or in the neighborhood in which they had been involved. These tape-recorded conversations explored incident dynamics from the young person's perspective and were concerned with behaviors, emotions, values, and attitudes at different steps of the violent encounter. The 110 interviews (Parts 3 and 4) yielded 250 incidents, almost all of which occurred within 12 months of the interview and half within 6 months. Using formal methods of content analysis, the interview transcriptions were reduced to a quantitative database with the incident as the unit of analysis (Part 1). Incidents were diagrammed, and events in each sequence were coded and grouped to show the typical patterns and sub-patterns in the interactions. Also examined were the explanations students offered for the violent-incident behavior. Explanations were categorized as "justifications," in which the young people accepted responsibility for their violent actions but denied that the actions were wrong, and "excuses," in which the young people admitted the act was wrong but denied responsibility. Every case in the incident database had at least one physical indicator of force or violence such as throwing something at the other, pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping, kicking, hitting with a fist, hitting with an object, threatening with a gun or knife, or using a gun or knife. The respondent-level file (Part 2) was created from the incident-level file using the AGGREGATE procedure in SPSS.

Sample:   Fifty-eight respondents were selected at random from a student body of about 750 at the middle school. Another 52 students from the alternative high school volunteered. Only students who received permission from their parents to participate were included in the study.

Data Source:

personal interviews

Description of Variables:   Variables in Part 1 include the sex, grade, and age of the respondent, the sex and estimated age of the antagonist, the relationship between respondent and antagonist, the nature and location of the opening move, the respondent's response to the opening move, persons present during the incident, respondent's emotions during the incident, the person who ended the fight, punishments imposed due to the incident, whether the respondent was arrested, and the duration of the incident. Additional items covered the number of times during the incident that something was thrown, the respondent was pushed, slapped, or spanked, was kicked, bit, or hit with a fist or with something else, was beaten up, cut, or bruised, was threatened with a knife or gun, or a knife or gun was used on the respondent. Variables in Part 2 include the respondent's age, gender, race, and grade at time of the interview, the number of incidents per respondent, if the respondent was an armed robber or a victim of an armed robbery, and whether the respondent had something thrown at him/her, was pushed, slapped, or spanked, was kicked, bit, or hit with a fist, or with something else, was beaten up, was threatened with a knife or gun, or had a knife or gun used on him/her.

Response Rates:   Not applicable.

Presence of Common Scales:   None

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2012-08-22 A Restricted Data Use Agreement form was added to the documentation files that can be downloaded from the study home page.
  • 2006-03-30 File CB2027.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.
  • 2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.

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