A study of factors influencing high school students' attitudes and opinions about violence

Joseph Charles Kaye, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Tenth grade students in a lower income neighborhood Houston school were surveyed on violence related beliefs, attitudes, and coping ability. Self-administered questionnaires were used to collect information for scale scores for statistical analysis. One hundred twenty six students participated of which 60% were Hispanic, 18% Black, 18% White, 2 American Indians, and 3 Asian/Pacific persons. There were 60 males, mean age 16.03, and 66 females, mean age 15.49. One-half of the sample reported repeating a grade, 53.4% of males, and 47% of females. Females' self-reported grades were slightly higher than males. Measures of student acceptance of violence and ability to handle conflict peacefully were studied in relation to student responses to questions about five areas: parental monitoring of the student, parent type of punishment, optimism about future prospects, frustration tolerance, and perceived peer group attitudes and practices. Significant gender differences included males having higher violence acceptance scores and females higher on coping with conflict peacefully. No significant race differences or gender interactions were found. Females' scores on future orientation were inversely related to their scores on the measure of acceptance of violence. For males, parents' punishment and perceived peer attitudes were positively related to their acceptance of violence, p $<$.0083. Female handling of conflict was significantly related to frustration tolerance and optimism; not significant were perceived peer attitudes, parent monitoring or punishment method. For males significantly related to handling conflict were perceived peer attitudes, parental monitoring, and severity of punishment, with the last two terms having a significant interaction effect, and inversely correlated (less monitoring, harsher punishment explained lower ability to handle conflict).

Subject Area

Mental health|Health education|Personality

Recommended Citation

Kaye, Joseph Charles, "A study of factors influencing high school students' attitudes and opinions about violence" (1991). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9219865.