Teachers’ reactions to experiences of violence: an attributional analysis

Abstract

Violence perpetrated against teachers is prevalent and has the potential to adversely affect teachers’ well-being, efficacy, and longevity in the profession. In this study, we examined teachers’ reactions after having experienced violence, specifically examining the roles of attributional processes. In collaboration with the American Psychological Association, National Education Association, and American Federation of Teachers, data were collected via a survey instrument from teachers across the United States. We examined responses from 2505 participants who described the most upsetting incident of violence that had been perpetrated against them in their roles as teachers. We examined predictors of (1) communicating with others after the incident and (2) implementing intervention strategies with the perpetrators of violence. Emotions were tested as mediators of the relations between attributions and outcomes. Results indicated that characterological and behavioral self-blame were predictive of negative affect, which in turn predicted the majority of outcomes. Study limitations and implications for research and practice are discussed.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the American Psychological Association’s Center for Psychology in Schools and Education. The authors are grateful to Rena Subotnik, Alison Koenka, Megan Sanders, and Kate Kovach for their assistance with data collection, management and analysis.

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Correspondence to Eric M. Anderman.

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Anderman, E.M., Eseplage, D.L., Reddy, L.A. et al. Teachers’ reactions to experiences of violence: an attributional analysis. Soc Psychol Educ 21, 621–653 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11218-018-9438-x

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Keywords

  • Attributions
  • Teachers
  • School violence
  • Victimization
  • Assessment