Youth violence among Israeli pupils, has attained worrying levels in most sub-populations. Findings suggest that youth violence is associated with several determinants such as gender, school achievement and school perception. The current study had two main goals: (1) to investigate the relationship between negative school perceptions and involvement in youth violence; and (2) to explore variations in the relationship between measures of school perception and violence for boys and girls and for Jewish and Arab-Israeli pupils. The study is based on the analysis of secondary data from a cross-national study-Health Behavior in School-Aged Children (HBSC), conducted under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO). We examined 8,394 pupils, a representative sample of 6th-10th grade pupils in the secular and religious Jewish public school systems and in Arab schools. Involvement in school violence was measured by pupils' involvement in three different types of behavior: bullying, involvement in physical fights, and weapon carrying. Multivariate models suggest that involvement in violence correlates with school perception differently for Jewish vs. Arabs and similarly for girls vs. boys. The main correlates for youth violence in the Jewish sample were poor academic achievement, feelings of disconnectedness with school, and perceptions of school as a very violent environment. Regarding the Arab pupils, in addition to these three measures, a lack of social support from teachers and difficulties in social adjustment were found to correlate with violence. These findings underscore the importance of developing and implementing intervention programs that focus on improving the daily school experience and on tailoring such interventions to specific sub-populations.
|Published - 2003