More research needs to be done on youth violence, including studies that contrast violent offenders and nonviolent offenders/nonoffenders. Research is also required to better understand the protective factors that mitigate the effects of risk exposure. Many predictors of violent behavior are predictors of other problems, such as substance abuse, delinquency, school dropout, and teen pregnancy (Dryfoos, 1991; Hawkins, Catalano, and Miller, 1992). The risk of violence is also compounded by the number of risk factors involved. The Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development (Farrington, 1997) found that the percentage of youth convicted for violent crimes increased from only 3 percent for those with no risk factors to 31 percent for those with four risk factors (low family income, large family size, low nonverbal IQ at ages 8–19, and poor parental childrearing behavior).

The larger the number of risk factors to which an individual is exposed, the greater the probability that the individual will engage in violent behavior. Multicomponent interventions targeting identification of shared predictors and constellations of risk factors may be more effective in preventing violence than those that target single risk factors.

For more information about this meta-analysis, the studies that were examined, and the procedures that were used, see Hawkins et al., 1998.

Previous Contents Next

Predictors of Youth Violence Juvenile Justice Bulletin April 2000