Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Research Summaries

Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

Research Summaries

Article excerpt

Contributing Editor's Note: In this column, Crisis Management in the Schools Interest Group members summarize recent crisis management publications. The first article summarized offered a review of a qualitative study investigating use of Critical Incident Stress Management in a school setting. The second article summarized examined the associations between different school violence reduction/prevention programs, and school crime and disruption.

Social Validity of the CISM Model for School Crisis Intervention

Summarized by Jack R. Dempsey, University of Florida

The Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) model is a popular crisis intervention service delivery package. The model's goals are the promotion of emotional processing by permitting individuals to express reactions and receive supportive feedback and the identification of individuals requiring more intensive treatment. Research demonstrates mixed results regarding the benefits of CISM. Importantly, none of the studies cited by proponents or opponents of the model pertain to its use in response to a school-based crisis. Morrison's (2007) study sought to address this limitation in the research by soliciting opinions regarding the model's acceptability from school-based crisis intervention providers.

The study's sample was obtained from a single school district and consisted of 18 school psychologists and 10 school social workers who had both attended a CISM training session and had used the package in response to a school-based crisis. Participant perceptions of the applicability of the CISM model's goals, procedures, and outcomes for school-based crisis intervention were obtained through semistructured individual interviews. Interview transcripts were then analyzed for themes pertaining to participant opinions on the acceptability of the CISM model for crisis intervention within a school setting.

The majority of the interviewees expressed positive regard for the applicability of the CISM model's goals and procedures to school-based crisis intervention and held that use of the model resulted in positive outcomes for students. A perceived weakness in the model's training package, however, was its failure to address the diversity of developmental levels and cultural backgrounds that exist in school settings. Despite this shortcoming, however, the majority of the interviewees held that a competent crisis intervention provider was capable of making the requisite modifications to the model to allow for its use within the school system.

For school crisis interveners, this study suggests that their work could benefit from the structured framework and standard operating procedures of the CISM model, although certain modifications to its protocols are necessary to account for the cultural and developmental diversity found within the school system. The author of this summary, however, is careful to qualify this conclusion by stating that the CISM model's acceptability for school-based crisis intervention has not yet been compared to that of other structured crisis intervention models.


Morrison, J. Q. (2007). Social validity of the critical incident stress management model for school-based crisis intervention. Psychology in the Schools, 44, 765-777.

School Violence: Associations With Control, Security/Enforcement, Educational/Therapeutic Approaches, and Demographic Factors

Summarized by Ashlee Barton, East Greenwich Public Schools, RI

A recent study by Nickerson and Martens (2008) examined the extent to which three different approaches to violence reduction and prevention were associated with school crime and disruption. The three factors were (a) control, (b) security/enforcement, and (c) therapeutic/educational approaches. The authors attempted to empirically differentiate among these approaches while accounting for demographic variables that may account for crime and disruption. …

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