Risk and Protective Factors for Trajectories of Violent Delinquency Among a Nationally Representative Sample of Early Adolescents

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trajectory, violence, adolescence, longitudinal, mediation

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To estimate trajectories of violence using a longitudinal sample of adolescents, considering the effects of multiple domains of influences as differentiators between profiles of violent behavior. A nationally representative sample of 9,421 adolescents ages 15–26. Trajectories were estimated, and multinomial regression procedures were used to evaluate factors predicting membership in high-violence trajectory groups. Mediation analyses were conducted to evaluate the mediated effect of distal influences on violence. Three groups of violence trajectories were identified: (a) nonviolent (73.1%); (b) escalators (14.6%); and (c) desistors (12.3%). Peer alcohol use predicted both escalation and desistance; however, these effects were mediated through individual-level variables. Aside from baseline violence, no other risk factor predicted membership in the “escalator” group. The lack of significance in predicting escalation highlights the need for further study on the etiology of late onset violence. Implications for violence prevention are discussed.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, v. 10, issue 3, p. 261-277