Trends in Threat Assessments Across the United States According to School Psychologists

Date of Award


Call Number


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


School Psychology

First Advisor

Wickerd, Garry

Second Advisor

Pratt, Jamie

Third Advisor

Steege, Mark


PsyD; Crisis prevention; CSTAG; Federal Model of School Threat Assessments; School psychology; Threat assessment


This research study aimed to identify the current trends of threat assessments across the United States from the perspective of school psychologists. There were many areas that were examined including the trends of threat assessment models, methods, teams, and implementation within a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) framework and during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study also examined the role that school psychologists have on threat assessment teams and the confidence they have in their involvement to influence successful threat assessment results. Participants included 280 credentialed school psychologists across the United States who currently work in the school setting and conduct threat assessments. Participants were included whether or not they were directly involved in threat assessments, and they completed different questions dependent on their direct involvement. These participants completed an anonymous survey through the Qualtrics platform and results were analyzed through Qualtrics descriptive analytics. There were many results based on participants’ answers to this survey, but some main findings included that the majority of participants’ school districts conduct threat assessments and the majority of school psychologists are involved directly on the threat assessment team. Participants directly involved reported that the top threat assessment models implemented were the Comprehensive School Threat Assessment Guidelines (CSTAG) model or school implemented methods. Alternatively, participants not directly involved reported primarily school implemented threat assessment methods. Participants reported that school psychologists and other school members conduct interviews as their primary threat assessment method throughout the threat assessment process. One common barrier to this study was many survey questions allowed for multiple selections which resulted in low reported percentages in all answers. This could be due to participants choosing limited responses. However, future research should find better methods to gain the same information from respondents. Research findings from this study can support schools and school districts to identify areas in threat assessments or on the threat assessment team that may need to be modified including implementing new threat assessment guidance, training, methods, and reporting methods. These findings can also guide future threat assessment laws and practices to ensure effective implementation of threat assessments.