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Attitudes Toward Violence Scale: Child Version

NCJ Number
Journal of Interpersonal Violence Volume: 18 Issue: 2 Dated: February 2003 Pages: 186-196
Jeanne Funk; Robert Elliott; Heidi Bechtoldt; Tracie Pasold; Areti Tsavoussis
Date Published
February 2003
11 pages
This article explains the rationale for and the development and testing of the Attitudes Toward Violence Scale, Child Version (ATVC), which was designed to measure the impact of interventions that target change in attitudes toward violence in elementary-school children.
The ATVC had good internal consistency in measuring two key components of violent attitudes: a general predisposition to view violence as a desirable behavioral choice and violence in response to specific provocation. Being male predicted the endorsement of proviolence attitudes, and self-identification as a victim of violence also predicted stronger proviolence attitudes in the testing sample. Being European-American was associated with lower scores on Reactive Violence and Total Proviolence Attitudes. Being African-American was associated with stronger Reactive Violence scores; however, ethnicity may be confounded with poverty, which increases exposure to violence and other major stressors. Poorer children, who were most likely to be African-American, were more likely to accept aggressive behavior. The authors conclude that the ATVC is well-suited to measuring pre-existing attitudes toward violence, one valid target for intervention, and to the determination of changes in attitudes after an intervention. Also, because it can provide a portrait of prevailing attitudes toward violence in a targeted area, the ATVC could be used in the development of violence prevention programs. The study sample for the final 16-item version of the ATVC consisted of fourth-graders through sixth-graders attending public schools in a mid-sized Midwestern city. A total of 747 questionnaires were completed (355 by girls). The ATVC has four response choices, with values of one through four: "No," "Maybe," "Probably," and "Yes." A total score is calculated across items, with some being reverse-scored. Higher scores indicate stronger proviolence attitudes. 3 tables and 29 references