The Center for School Safety

Primary Investigator: Joel Meyers, Ph.D., regents professor and Kristen Varjas, Psy.D., associate professor

Visit The Center for School Safety, School Climate and Classroom Management 

The Center for Research on School Safety, School Climate and Classroom Management (CReSS) is an interdisciplinary research center that promotes basic and applied research and facilitates educational and outreach efforts. The Center consists of faculty members representing a broad span of academic orientations including education, psychology, law, social work, criminal justice, nursing, and policy development. Graduate students can participate in a variety of ways, including x, y and z.

Implicit Self-esteem and Perfectionism: This project looks at the relationship between a person’s implicit self-esteem (using a computerized Go/No-Go Association Task, or GNAT) and psychometric measures of perfectionism, explicit self-esteem, depression and affect. We are currently collecting data on this project via the CPS SONA system.

Bullying Project: One comprehensive and multi-faceted research project is designed to investigate bullying. Areas of bullying of interest to the Center are school-based bullying, cyberbullying, and LGBT bullying.  Much of this work has been conducted in one urban school district and some of the primary components are preventive intervention for students who have been victimized by bullies; individualized counseling for bullies; surveys and assessment instruments related to bullying; interviews of educators, professionals, and students.

Project P.R.E.V.E.N.T: Atlanta is a center of activities related to the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC). As a result, the Center is committed to engaging in research designed to address this challenging problem. We are working with local schools to conduct needs assessments and to develop and implement interventions designed to prevent CSEC and its negative effects.

Prevention Intervention Group Survey: In an effort to uncover the roots of the development of youth violence, an interdisciplinary team of faculty and graduate students from the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education & Human Development has developed the Prevention Intervention Group Survey. This research team has used this survey in a number of school districts to provide information about the development of youth violence in these systems and to yield data concerning the reliability and validity of this instrument. The survey is available in both Spanish and English and is designed to obtain information about violent behaviors, risk factors, resilience factors and a range of social and emotional outcomes in students.

Success For All Students Project: The Success For All Students initiative is designed to provide prevention and intervention strategies that reduce the risk factors that can come between children and their ability to learn, both in the classroom and at home.  The initiative is aimed at providing safe school environments and violence prevention; social, behavioral and emotional supports for students; social and emotional learning programs for early childhood; alcohol, tobacco and drug prevention activities; and school based mental health services. The Center for School Safety is involved in a consultation role with the initiative, and provides evaluative, reporting, and support services to counties involved with the initiative.

Published Research: The following articles may give you a sense of our research. A greater sense of what we’re about can be gained from the fuller list of our publications at our web site, located here.

Parris, L., Varjas, K., Meyers, J., & Cutts, H. (In Press). Investigating high school students’ perceptions of coping with cyberbullying: An exploratory study. Youth and Society. Published online before print April 8, 2011, doi: 10.1177/0044118X11398881.

Varjas, K., Mahan, W., Meyers, J., Bryant, A., McMahon, G., & Birckbichler, L. (Submitted). Disclosure experiences of high school students who identify as LGBT. Journal of Homosexuality.

Harper, E. A. (2011, September). Images of African American women in the media. Invited presentation. Spelman College. Atlanta, Georgia.

Parris, L., Varjas, K., Meyers, J., & Cutts, H. (In Press). Investigating high school students’ perceptions of coping with cyberbullying: An exploratory study. Youth and Society. Published online before print April 8, 2011, doi: 10.1177/0044118X11398881.

Varjas, K., Talley, J., Meyers, J., Parris, L., & Cutts, H. (2010). High school students’ perceptions of motivations for cyberbullying: An exploratory study. Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, 11(3), 269-273.

Varjas, K., Henrich, C. & Meyers, J. (2009). Urban middle school students’ perceptions of bullying, cyberbullying and school safety. Journal of School Violence, 8(2), 159-176.


The following articles may give you a sense of our research:

Ashby, J.S., Slaney, R.B., Noble, C.M., Gnilka, P.B., & Rice, K.G. (in press). Understanding differences between “Normal” and “Neurotic” perfectionists: Implications for mental health counselors. Journal of Mental Health Counseling.

Gnilka, P.B., Ashby, J.S., & Noble, C.M. (in press). Adult attachment style differences among adaptive, maladaptive, and non-perfectionists. Journal of Counseling and Development.

Kira, I., Abou-Medan, S., Ashby, J.S., Lewandowski, L., Mohanesh, J., & Odenat, L. (in press). Post-traumatic Growth Inventory: Psychometric properties of the Arabic version in Palestinian adults. The International Journal of Educational and Psychological Assessment.

Noble, C.M., Ashby, J.S., & Gnilka, P.B. (in press). Multidimensional Perfectionism, coping, and depression: Differential prediction of depression symptoms by perfectionism type. Journal of College Counseling.

Kira, I.; Templin, T. & Lewandowski , L., Ashby, J. S., Oladele , A., & Odenat, L. (2012). Cumulative Trauma Disorder Scale: Two Studies. Psychology, 3, 643-656.

Ashby, J.S., Noble, C., & Gnilka, P.B. (2012). Multidimensional Perfectionism, Depression, and Satisfaction with Life: Differences among Perfectionists and Tests of a Stress-Mediation Model. Journal of College Counseling, 15, 130-143.

Gnilka, P.B., Ashby, J.S., & Noble, C.M. (2012). Multidimensional perfectionism and anxiety: Differences among perfectionists and tests of a coping-mediation model. Journal of Counseling and Development, 90, 427 - 436

Kira, I., Abou-Median, Alamia, Ashby, J.S., Odenat, L., Mohanesh, J. & Alamia, H. (2012). The dynamics of post-traumatic growth across different trauma types in a Palestinian sample. Journal of Loss and Trauma: International Perspectives on Stress and Coping.

Kira, I., Ashby, J.S., Lewandowski, L., Smith, I., & Odenat, L. (2012). Gender inequality and its effects in female torture survivors. Psychology, 4, 352-363.

Ashby, J.S., Dickinson, W.D., Gnilka, P., Noble, C. (2011). Hope as a mediator and moderator of multidimensional perfectionism and depression in middle school students. Journal of Counseling and Development, 89, 131-139