Trauma, Stress, and Violence

Active grants

The Trauma, Stress, and Violence research area looks at prevalence, prevention, and risk and protective factors for relational violence or coercion and support for the vulnerable groups affected. Topics include teen dating violence, sexual assault and rape, domestic violence, and bullying and peer victimization.


Creating Protective Environments through School Policy Development

Principal Investigator: Poco Kernsmith

Grant funder: Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Research is needed to evaluate and inform school policy to prevent multiple forms of youth violence. The present study seeks to comprehensively evaluate existing school policy to address sexual violence and harassment, and other related forms of violence among youth, as well as facilitate school and community agency partnerships to enhance strategies for sexual violence prevention. In Phase 1, the team will build capacity for the project through a process of finalizing the research strategy and gathering baseline data from a variety of sources. The formative process will be conducted in a collaborative, community-engaged approach, with the support of a Research Advisory Board and local stakeholders. School policies from 6 representative schools will be collected and systematically analyzed in tandem along with multiple sources of publicly available and school provided data. Interviews will be conducted with school administrators, and a series of focus groups will be conducted with students and school staff to assess perceptions of policy implementation. In Phase 2, the research team(s) will collaborate to implement a pilot study of the policy development and technical assistance intervention. This intervention is currently implemented in the RPE work plan in the MY Consent Culture program by RPE-fundee, MOASH, but will be further developed through the formative process. MOASH will partner to develop strategies to provide participating schools with technical assistance to enhance existing school district policies in accordance with best practices. A delayed treatment, mixed methodology design will be utilized to evaluate the efficacy of technical assistance provided to 6 high schools in the pilot study. Technical assistance will be provided by MOASH and other community partners, designed to provide hands-on support in refining and implementing school policy to prevent and respond to sexual violence, teen dating violence, and bullying among students. Half of schools will participate in technical assistance in Year 2 and the remaining half in Year 3. An innovative survey design will be utilized to examine longitudinal outcomes over time. Specifically, assessments of incidence of violence, attitudes towards violence, school climate, and school connectedness will be conducted. These date will be collected from both the MiPHY State-administered online survey and project surveys in schools. Two cohorts of youth in the 7th and 11th grade will be recruited for participation in each year of the study, in alignment with MiPHY administration schedules. Surveys will be administered one time per year for a total of five time points. We will test a conceptual model that posits a causal relationship in which technical assistance around policy refinement and implementation increases coordination of services with community organizations, improves school connectedness, decreases attitudes endorsing violence, and subsequently decreases sexual violence and harassment, teen dating violence, and bullying victimization and perpetration. In Phase 3, a full-scale rigorous evaluation will be conducted, following the same methods, with a sample of 40 schools representing the five geographic regions of the state. If effective, findings from the present research will provide a robust foundation to inform the widespread dissemination of this promising approach to strengthening school violence policy and primary prevention efforts to address multiple and co-occurring forms of violence among youth.


Creating Protective Environments through School Policy Development Supplement

Principal Investigator: Poco Kernsmith

Grant Funder: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The goal of this supplement is to better meet the needs of youth with disabilities as well as the individuals and systems providing services within schools through the provision of technical assistance informed by the assessment of the needs and priorities of youth, staff, and teachers. This supplement will specifically support enhanced policy analysis, expanded data collection, and development of technical assistance opportunities. These activities are intended to improve the ability of schools to prevent and respond to violence perpetrated against and by students with disabilities through building protective environments, improving reporting and identification of youth who have been victimized, and expand intervention with both victims and perpetrators that is appropriate and responsive to the development and ability of youth.