Date of Award

Fall 2021

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Kimberly Mitchell Lema

Second Advisor

Michelle Leichtman

Third Advisor

Victoria Banyard


Youth violence can encompass a range of types of harmful behaviors that each have their own definitions, high prevalence rates, and litany of negative consequences for both adolescent victims and perpetrators. It includes behaviors that can be labeled based on the nature of the act itself such as physical assault, verbal harassment, relational violence, sexual violence, or cyber violence (Basile et al., 2020; Hasbrouck, 2020). One of the primary avenues of youth violence prevention is through school-based programs that often involve school personnel (Butchart et al., 2019). This dissertation contributes to the extant knowledge about school personnel’s impact on preventing youth violence by understanding their experiences with violence among their students and their roles in prevention programming.The first paper is a meta-analysis examining the efficacy of identity-based violence prevention programs which involve school personnel on behavioral outcomes such as helping, perpetration, and victimization. This study reviews a wide range of programs to integrate several types of violence prevention together, and critically finds a lack of significant impacts of prevention programming on behavioral outcomes across studies on average. However, the meta-analysis identifies several critical gaps in research on prevention programming involving school personnel. Recommendations are provided for how researchers can more intentionally involve and evaluate school personnel’s role in violence prevention programs in the future. The second paper uses qualitative phenomenological inquiry to explore educator experiences with youth violence. This study provides a new lens for examining youth violence through the eyes of adults who are often tasked with addressing it. The timing of Study 2, during the COVID-19 pandemic, also allowed for exploration of how educator experiences with youth violence changed during social distancing. Results underscored the critical role of educators sharing knowledge and forming relationships with students in addressing youth violence. Taken together, these two studies are an important step toward understanding the many roles of school personnel in addressing youth violence.