Multi-Domain Risk and Protective Factor Predictors of Violent Behavior among At-risk Youth

J Youth Stud. 2011 Jun;14(4):413-429. doi: 10.1080/13676261.2010.538044.


This study extends prior examination of adolescent violence etiology, drawing on an ethnically diverse, community accessed, yet emotionally vulnerable sample (N = 849) of adolescents at-risk for school drop-out. A balanced risk and protective factor framework captured theorized dimensions of strain, coping, and support resources. We tested the combined and unique contribution of risk and protective components spanning individual, peer/school, and family predictor domains, including victimization histories. Hierarchical regressions yielded significant overall explanation of violent behaviors as well as unique predictors within each of the three domains. Tests for sex differences and moderating effects suggested that levels of risk and protective factors differed for males and females, although the functional relationships to violence were the same for both sexes. Results are discussed relative to prevention and early intervention programs; particularly the importance of understanding adolescent violent behaviors within a context that addresses stress and distress.