Kumar, R., Patrick M. O'Malley, and Lloyd Johnston. 2008. "Association between physical environment of secondary schools and student problem behavior - A national study, 2000-2003." Environment and Behavior, 40(4): 455-486.
This article examines various aspects of school physical characteristics relating to problem behavior among students. We hypothesize that an attractive physical environment will be associated with less truancy, cigarette, alcohol, and marijuana use, whereas a negative physical environment will be associated with higher levels of these behaviors. Analyses use data from nationally representative samples of 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-grade students who participated in annual surveys conducted by the Monitoring the Future project from 2000 to 2003. Analyses also use data collected from principals and field interviewers of the same schools. Results based on multilevel logistic and linear regressions indicate that students are sensitive to schools' ambience and that the association of various aspects of the school's physical environment with students' problem behaviors is greater for 10th-grade students than for 8th- and 12th-grade students. The implications of these findings for school policies and practices are discussed.