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Ron Avi Astor, PhD

TitleLenore Stein-Wood and William S. Wood Professor of School Behavioral Health, Professor of Social Work, Dept. of Children, Youth, and Families
InstitutionUniversity of Southern California
DepartmentSocial Work
Phone+1 213 740 0296
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    RON AVI ASTOR holds joint appointments in the USC School of Social Work and USC Rossier School of Education. His work examines the role of the physical, social-organizational and cultural contexts in schools related to different kinds of school violence (e.g., sexual harassment, bullying, school fights, emotional abuse, weapon use, teacher/child violence). Astor's studies have included tens of thousands of schools and millions of students, teachers, parents and administrators. Over the past 10 years, findings from these studies have been published in more than 150 scholarly manuscripts.

    This work has documented the ecological influences of the family, community, school and culture on different forms of school violence. His book, School Violence in Context: Culture, Neighborhood, Family, School, and Gender, which was published by Oxford University Press with his close colleague Rami Benbenishty from Bar Ilan University, has been described by leading scholars in psychology, social work and education as the most comprehensive theoretically and empirically sound study of school violence conducted to date. The American Psychological Association recognized the contribution of the book with the William James Book Award in 2006, followed by the American Educational Research Association's Outstanding Book Award in 2007. Astor also won AERA's Distinguished Research Award twice in Human Development and Counseling in 2006 and 2010. In 2010, he received an honorary doctorate from Hebrew Union College based on this work. In 2012, Astor was named an AERA fellow, a prestigious title that has been given to fewer than 500 education scholars nationwide.

    Astor has also developed a school mapping and local monitoring procedure that can be used with students and teachers to generate "grassroots" solutions to safety problems. The mapping procedure has received several international awards including the American Educational Research Association's prestigious Palmer O. Johnson Award for best research article in 2000. The mapping and monitoring procedure is used in schools across the globe including Los Angeles and Tel Aviv. Along with colleagues at Bar Ilan and Hebrew University, he continues to conduct studies on the epidemiology of school violence in different cultures, the effects of stereotyping on the approval of violence across development in different cultures and democracy-oriented intervention studies that promote student and teacher participation to achieve school safety. The findings of these studies have been widely cited in the international media in the United States and Israel.

    Currently, Astor is applying knowledge gained from these prior studies to improve school climate in military-connected schools. As principal investigator, Astor and his colleagues are leading an eight-year Department of Defense Educational Activity funded-research partnership with eight school districts. This partnership will create a national prototype for sustainable infrastructures that use data-driven models to create supportive schools. Staff, students and parents will be empowered to use evidence to improve school climate and address military students' special needs. In addition, mobile applications will be developed to assist parents, students, teachers and administrators in providing resources and services.

    His work has been funded by the Department of Defense Educational Activity, National Institutes of Mental Health, H.F. Guggenheim Foundation, National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation, William T. Grant Foundation, Israeli Ministry of Education, a Fulbright Senior Scholar Fellowship, University of Michigan, USC and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.


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    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help.
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    1. Benbenishty R, Astor RA, Roziner I. A School-Based Multilevel Study of Adolescent Suicide Ideation in California High Schools. J Pediatr. 2018 May; 196:251-257. PMID: 29544883.
      View in: PubMed
    2. Benbenishty R, Siegel A, Astor RA. School-Related Experiences of Adolescents in Foster Care: A Comparison With Their High-School Peers. Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2017 Apr 10. PMID: 28394151.
      View in: PubMed
    3. Estrada JN, Gilreath TD, Sanchez CY, Astor RA. Associations between school violence, military connection, and gang membership in California secondary schools. Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2017; 87(4):443-451. PMID: 27414056.
      View in: PubMed
    4. De Pedro KT, Astor RA, Gilreath T, Benbenishty R, Berkowitz R. Examining the Relationship Between School Climate and Peer Victimization Among Students in Military-Connected Public Schools. Violence Vict. 2016; 31(4):751-67. PMID: 27301659.
      View in: PubMed
    5. Sullivan K, Capp G, Gilreath TD, Benbenishty R, Roziner I, Astor RA. Substance Abuse and Other Adverse Outcomes for Military-Connected Youth in California: Results From a Large-Scale Normative Population Survey. JAMA Pediatr. 2015 Oct; 169(10):922-8. PMID: 26280338.
      View in: PubMed
    6. Gilreath TD, Wrabel SL, Sullivan KS, Capp GP, Roziner I, Benbenishty R, Astor RA. Suicidality among military-connected adolescents in California schools. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2016 Jan; 25(1):61-6. PMID: 25791079.
      View in: PubMed
    7. Gilreath TD, Astor RA, Estrada JN, Benbenishty R, Unger JB. School victimization and substance use among adolescents in California. Prev Sci. 2014 Dec; 15(6):897-906. PMID: 24482139.
      View in: PubMed
    8. Gilreath TD, Astor RA, Cederbaum JA, Atuel H, Benbenishty R. Prevalence and correlates of victimization and weapon carrying among military- and nonmilitary-connected youth in Southern California. Prev Med. 2014 Mar; 60:21-6. PMID: 24333605.
      View in: PubMed
    9. Cederbaum JA, Gilreath TD, Benbenishty R, Astor RA, Pineda D, DePedro KT, Esqueda MC, Atuel H. Well-being and suicidal ideation of secondary school students from military families. J Adolesc Health. 2014 Jun; 54(6):672-7. PMID: 24257031.
      View in: PubMed
    10. Astor RA, De Pedro KT, Gilreath TD, Esqueda MC, Benbenishty R. The promotional role of school and community contexts for military students. Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev. 2013 Sep; 16(3):233-44. PMID: 23760904.
      View in: PubMed
    11. Gilreath TD, Astor RA, Estrada JN, Johnson RM, Benbenishty R, Unger JB. Substance Use Among Adolescents in California: A Latent Class Analysis. Subst Use Misuse. 2013 Aug 23. PMID: 23971853.
      View in: PubMed
    12. Estrada JN, Gilreath TD, Astor RA, Benbenishty R. Gang membership of California middle school students: behaviors and attitudes as mediators of school violence. Health Educ Res. 2013 Aug; 28(4):626-39. PMID: 23525778.
      View in: PubMed
    13. Gilreath TD, Cederbaum JA, Astor RA, Benbenishty R, Pineda D, Atuel H. Substance use among military-connected youth: the California Healthy Kids Survey. Am J Prev Med. 2013 Feb; 44(2):150-3. PMID: 23332331.
      View in: PubMed
    14. Schiff M, Pat-Horenczyk R, Benbenishty R, Brom D, Baum N, Astor RA. High school students' posttraumatic symptoms, substance abuse and involvement in violence in the aftermath of war. Soc Sci Med. 2012 Oct; 75(7):1321-8. PMID: 22727650.
      View in: PubMed
    15. Pitner RO, Astor RA, Benbenishty R, Haj-Yahia MM, Zeira A. Putting context into a cultural perspective: examining Arab and Jewish adolescents' judgments and reasoning about spousal retribution. Violence Against Women. 2011 May; 17(5):584-602. PMID: 21511822.
      View in: PubMed
    16. Chen JK, Astor RA. Students' personal traits, violence exposure, family factors, school dynamics and the perpetration of violence in Taiwanese elementary schools. Health Educ Res. 2011 Feb; 26(1):150-66. PMID: 21248026.
      View in: PubMed
    17. Schiff M, Pat-Horenczyk R, Benbenishty R, Brom D, Baum N, Astor RA. Do adolescents know when they need help in the aftermath of war? J Trauma Stress. 2010 Oct; 23(5):657-60. PMID: 20803577.
      View in: PubMed
    18. Khoury-Kassabri M, Astor RA, Benbenishty R. Middle Eastern adolescents' perpetration of school violence against peers and teachers: a cross-cultural and ecological analysis. J Interpers Violence. 2009 Jan; 24(1):159-82. PMID: 18378808.
      View in: PubMed
    19. Khoury-Kassabri M, Astor RA, Benbenishty R. Student victimization by school staff in the context of an Israeli national school safety campaign. Aggress Behav. 2008 Jan-Feb; 34(1):1-8. PMID: 17486605.
      View in: PubMed
    20. Khoury-Kassabri M, Astor RA, Benbenishty R. Weapon carrying in Israeli schools: the contribution of individual and school factors. Health Educ Behav. 2007 Jun; 34(3):453-70. PMID: 17200100.
      View in: PubMed
    21. Astor RA, Benbenishty R, Vinokur AD, Zeira A. Arab and Jewish elementary school students' perceptions of fear and school violence: understanding the influence of school context. Br J Educ Psychol. 2006 Mar; 76(Pt 1):91-118. PMID: 16573981.
      View in: PubMed
    22. Khoury-Kassabri M, Benbenishty R, Astor RA, Zeira A. The contributions of community, family, and school variables to student victimization. Am J Community Psychol. 2004 Dec; 34(3-4):187-204. PMID: 15663206.
      View in: PubMed
    23. Zeira A, Astor RA, Benbenishty R. School violence in Israel: findings of a national survey. Soc Work. 2003 Oct; 48(4):471-83. PMID: 14620104.
      View in: PubMed
    24. Pitner RO, Astor RA, Benbenishty R, Haj-Yahia MM, Zeira A. The effects of group stereotypes on adolescents' reasoning about peer retribution. Child Dev. 2003 Mar-Apr; 74(2):413-25. PMID: 12705563.
      View in: PubMed
    25. Astor RA, Benbenishty R, Zeira A, Vinokur A. School climate, observed risky behaviors, and victimization as predictors of high school students' fear and judgments of school violence as a problem. Health Educ Behav. 2002 Dec; 29(6):716-36. PMID: 12456131.
      View in: PubMed
    26. Benbenishty R, Zeira A, Astor RA, Khoury-Kassabri M. Maltreatment of primary school students by educational staff in Israel. Child Abuse Negl. 2002 Dec; 26(12):1291-309. PMID: 12464302.
      View in: PubMed
    27. Benbenishty R, Zeira A, Astor RA. Children's reports of emotional, physical and sexual maltreatment by educational staff in Israel. Child Abuse Negl. 2002 Aug; 26(8):763-82. PMID: 12363330.
      View in: PubMed
    28. Zeira A, Astor RA, Benbenishty R. Sexual harassment in Jewish and Arab public schools in Israel. Child Abuse Negl. 2002 Feb; 26(2):149-66. PMID: 11933987.
      View in: PubMed
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