Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 265–280 | Cite as

Parents’ Perceptions of Causes of and Solutions for School Violence: Implications for Policy

  • Melanie J. Bliss
  • James Emshoff
  • Chad A. Buck
  • Sarah L. Cook

This study explores perceptions of causes of and solutions for school violence in a sample of 202 parents interviewed in the wake of nationally publicized school shootings. We also investigate the effects the school shootings had on children, parents’ perceptions regarding firearms, and changes in parenting behavior. Parents exhibited strong support for almost all proposed causes and solutions, and we address their desire for immediate and often invasive interventions to prevent future violence. We contrast parents’ perceptions with their own parenting behaviors and with literature on effective interventions. Results are discussed within the context of policy implications.

Editors’ Strategic Implications: Parents’ perceptions and behaviors are frequently influenced by history effects. The national attention received by school shootings provided an opportunity for exploration of those perceptions and self-reported behaviors. The authors provide evidence from timely surveys that parents struggle with identifying causal factors that may contribute to school violence and consequently support a myriad of strategies for intervention including very invasive environmental preventive strategies. The findings suggest that social scientists should play a proactive role in translating research-supported preventive strategies to effective replications in the community and make research available in formats that are available and comprehensible by the lay public.


school violence cause solution intervention parenting 



We wish to acknowledge Drew Neslin and Elizabeth Kim for their assistance with managing this database, and we thank Phyllis Holditch Niolon and Sharon Smith for their feedback on earlier drafts of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melanie J. Bliss
    • 1
  • James Emshoff
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chad A. Buck
    • 1
  • Sarah L. Cook
    • 1
  1. 1.Georgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA

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