Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

Fall 10-27-2015


Hollister, Brandon A. (2015). "Exposure and responses to pre-incident behavior in a college student sample." Theses, Dissertations, and Student Research: Department of Psychology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Psychology, Under the Supervision of Professor Mario J. Scalora. Lincoln, Nebraska: October, 2015

Copyright (c) 2015 Brandon A. Hollister


Campus threat assessment has included gathering, assessing, and intervening in situations with pre-incident behavior. However, with limited general population examination, concerns regarding the prevalence, assault correspondence, and reporting of pre-incident behavior exist. With an undergraduate student sample (n = 1,063), this dissertation utilized a survey regarding exposure and response to campus safety concerns. In comparison to students not witnessing concerns, students seeing problematic behavior had higher self-reported antisocial history and campus connectedness. Students witnessing physical assault were more likely to see multiple pre-incident behaviors, multiple incidents of pre-incident behavior, threatening statements, and threatening gestures from the perpetrator than students witnessing sexual assault / touching or safety issues besides assault. In comparison to students not informing authorities upon exposure to concerning behavior, reporting students indicated observing more types of concerning behavior and victims. Reporting students were more likely to be male and less likely to be freshmen. These students had less self-reported antisocial involvement and more campus connectedness. Additionally, in comparison to students not informing authorities upon exposure to concerning behavior, reporting students indicated having more contact with campus police, more positive contact with campus police, and greater ability to recall slogans from campus police advertisements. Overall, campus assaults appeared rare with diverse locations and offenders. Most assaults included observed pre-incident behavior from the perpetrator, and pre-incident behavior significantly corresponded with witnessed physical assault. Thus, pre-incident behavior appeared to relate to heightened campus violence risk, and further application of campus threat assessment to an array of problem areas appears warranted. Additionally, this dissertation had implications for pre-incident reporting improvement efforts and suggested messaging regarding precursors to violence could be incorporated into existing community policing outreach and bystander training for sexual assault prevention.

Advisor: Mario J. Scalora