Adolescent Predictors of Fear and Safety in the Public Schools

Travis Satterlund, North Carolina State University

ABSTRACT
In the wake of the recent school shootings and the media hype concerning school violence, fear of crime and violence at school have become even more salient issues than ever before. Many studies have researched fear of crime among adults in a wide array of social settings and contexts, yet research on fear of criminal victimization in our public schools has been relatively sparse. Goodey (1994) contends that children have generally been neglected by researchers and Hale (1996) notes that researchers have neglected fear of criminal victimization among children and adolescence, calling it "an important research priority" (Hale 1996; 100). Using a large representative sample of junior high and high school students from across the nation, this study seeks to fill this void by exploring the factors within the school context that affect adolescents' fear of crime. A total of 4595 students from 132 schools were surveyed for this study. The findings suggests that GPA, income level, and feelings of alienation do affect the perceptions of students' level of safety at school. Overall, these findings suggest that there are a great deal of similarities between adolescent and adult determinants of fear of crime.

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Updated 05/20/2006