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Using nationally representative data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (a.k.a., Add Health), this study examines the impact of school climate and share of vulnerable groups of students on self-perceived discrimination and violence involvement in high school. Violence involvement is operationalized as victimization and perpetration of physical violence. Five categories of vulnerability status are analyzed: the emotionally disabled, learning disabled, physically disabled, obese and LGB. Results suggest that relatively higher odds of violence involvement for individuals who were members of vulnerable groups as adolescents are fully explained by school climate and an extensive set of individual-level controls. While the share of vulnerable groups in school is not consistently correlated with violence involvement, school climate is found to be highly predictive of self-perceived discrimination and violence involvement. Consequently, we believe that improving school climate is the most effective strategy for reducing violence involvement of vulnerable youth in school.


© 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Original published version available at

Publication Title

Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies





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