The link between school climate and violence in school: A meta-analytic review

Georges Steffgen*, Sophie Recchia, Wolfgang Viechtbauer

*Corresponding author for this work

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There has been significant interest in whether and how school climate and violent behavior are meaningfully related. The present meta-analysis reviewed studies reporting a relationship between school climate and school violence in order to summarize the total effect and the direction of these research findings. Database consultation and literature hand searching yielded 145 articles which were reviewed by two experts. Studies were included if they reported a statistical effect size of the relationship between school climate and school violence. Exclusion criteria were unclear operationalization of the principal variables, research findings from multiple publications, studies using multi-level analysis and qualitative studies. The meta-analysis included 36 independent studies (N= 113,778) with correlations ranging from -.02 to -.53. Using a random-effects model a moderate mean effect size of r= -.26, Cl [-30, -21] was found. Statistical findings indicated significant heterogeneity and a large range of variance between studies. Meta-regressions analyzed different potential moderators as relevant factors of heterogeneity, but none of these factors could be identified as a moderator. Due to the large variance between the studies, it remains difficult to draw final conclusions. Nevertheless, the moderate effect size underlines the role of environmental aspects for school violence intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-309
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • School climate
  • School violence
  • Meta-analysis

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