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Chen, "School social dynamics as mediators of students' personal traits and family factors on the perpetration of school violence in Taiwan," 2008

USC dissertation in Social Work.
August 21, 2009

Ji-Kang Chen, Ph.D

Abstract (Summary)

To date, very few national studies have been conducted in Asia on school violence issues. In addition, few studies explored how school dynamics, family factors, personal traits work together to contribute to perpetration of school violence. Using a nationally representative sample of 14,042 Taiwanese students from elementary schools (grades 4 to 6), junior high schools (grades 7 to 9), academic high schools and vocational high schools (grades 10 to 12), this dissertation describes the perpetration of school violence in Taiwan. These are the first nationally representative studies on these issues in Taiwan. The first study of this dissertation focuses on the prevalence of student violence against students. The second study focuses on student violence against teachers. The remaining three studies of the dissertation examine a theoretical model of how school engagement, school risky peers, and student-teacher relationships mediate the effects of personal traits and family factors on school violence committed by students against other students and teachers.

Structural equation modeling was used to examine the theoretical model. Three separate studies explored this model on elementary (chapter 3), junior high (chapter 4), and high school (chapter 5) samples respectively. The study on high school students (chapter 5) also explores the model in vocational and academic schools. Compared with Western countries, the prevalence of school violence in Taiwan is high. The findings across all three structural equation model studies suggest that the theoretical model was a good fit for the elementary school, junior high school and high school samples. Moreover, the theoretical models developed in Western cultures explained larger amounts of the explained variance for violence against student and teachers in Asian cultures. The overall findings suggested that school factors such as school engagement, school risky peers, and student-teacher relationships mediate family and personal factors. However, each school variable plays a different role in mediating the relationship for each school type and across development. Implications for theory, policy and practice, and recommendation for future research are discussed.

Advisor: Astor, Ron Avi
Committee members: Chi, Iris,  Johnson, C. Anderson