Center for the Study of Violence
Contact Us
Press Releases
Books and Media
In the News


Violence in the U.S. continues to be a major social problem, as does international conflict.  Although the youth homicide rate has dropped somewhat in recent years, the youth violence rate continues at a very high historic level.  Furthermore, the overall violent crime rate is higher in the U.S. than in any other Western industrialized nation. The current world crisis involving international terrorism is yet another manifestation of the longstanding problem of human violence.


The main objective of the Center for the Study of Violence is to improve the scientific knowledge base about:

◦ Factors that contribute to the development of aggression and violence-prone individuals versus   factors that promote development of healthy, productive citizens

◦ Other situational and environmental factors that increase or decrease the likelihood of aggression and violence

Additionally, the Center aims to:

◦ Foster collaborative research efforts across a number of departments within Iowa State University, with other non-ISU aggression and violence researchers, and with state and federal agencies

◦ Communicate findings to citizens, communities, public policy officials, and scientists through extension, consultation, conferences, and publications

◦ Enhance undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral training of the next generation of violence researchers


Recent years have seen numerous advances in theory and practice concerning human aggression and violence.  But there is considerable need for further research into this social problem, especially research that crosses traditional academic boundaries.  Iowa State University currently has a solid core of nationally recognized scholars with expertise on various aspects of violence, scattered across colleges and departments. These leading scholars conduct research in the following domains that are central to the mission of the Center:

◦ Media violence effects on aggression and violence

▪ Research in this domain involves laboratory experiments, questionnaire studies, and field studies, which help develop a better understanding of the processes involved in the media violence effect, which is that exposure to violent media increases aggressive thinking, hostile feeling, and aggressive behavior

▪ Recent research advances make it clear that now is a good time to begin developing intervention programs designed to reduce youth exposure to media violence, and to reduce the negative impact of exposure to media violence

◦ Developmental factors, families, and intimate violence

▪ One of the best single predictors of violence in adulthood is aggressive/antisocial behavior patterns that emerge in childhood

▪ Research in this domain involves detailed study of families across time with questionnaires, face-to-face interviews, and observation of family interaction patterns, as well as detailed study of children within the school context

▪ Relevant research involves participation in hate groups (such as various white supremacy groups) and violence within intimate relationships

◦ Dealing with criminals and criminal justice issues

▪ Research in this domain concerns identification of individuals who are most likely to become repeat offenders, and the ability of the justice system to identify and convict violent offenders so as to protect the public

Contact Us