The impact of protective factors in desistance from violent reoffending: a study in three samples of adolescent offenders

J Interpers Violence. 2010 Mar;25(3):568-87. doi: 10.1177/0886260509334403. Epub 2009 Jul 7.


This study examined the impact of protective factors, assessed by means of the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY), on desistance from violent reoffending in adolescents. Three samples included male adolescents in different stages of the judicial process: pre-trial (n = 111); during residential treatment (n = 66); and after release from a juvenile justice facility ( n = 47). The results lend support to the hypothesis that protective factors buffer or mitigate the risk of violent reoffending. Using regression analyses, in all samples, the addition of protective factors yielded a significant increment in the amount of variance explained by dynamic risk factors alone. Furthermore, in medium to high risk subgroups, the violent reoffending rate was significantly higher when protective factors were absent, compared to when protective factors were present. These findings are discussed in terms of their implications for risk assessment and risk management practice with adolescent offenders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Criminals / psychology*
  • Criminals / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Juvenile Delinquency / psychology*
  • Juvenile Delinquency / rehabilitation*
  • Juvenile Delinquency / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Peer Group
  • Personality Development
  • Regression Analysis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk Factors
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Violence / psychology*
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data