Does school suspension affect subsequent youth nonviolent antisocial behavior? A longitudinal study of students in Victoria, Australia and Washington State, United States

Aust J Psychol. 2013 Dec;65(4):236-249. doi: 10.1111/ajpy.12026.


School suspension has been not only associated with negative behaviours but is predictive of future poor outcomes. The current study investigates a) whether school suspension is a unique predictor of youth nonviolent antisocial behaviour (NVAB) relative to other established predictors, and b) whether the predictors of NVAB are similar in Australia and the United States (U.S.). The data analysed here draws on two state-wide representative samples of Grade 7 and 9 students in Victoria, Australia and Washington State, U.S., resurveyed at 12-month follow-up (N = 3,677, 99% retention). School suspension did not uniquely predict NVAB in the final model. The predictors of NVAB, similar across states, included previous student NVAB; current alcohol and tobacco use; poor family management; association with antisocial friends; and low commitment to school. An implication of the findings is that U.S. evidence-based prevention programs targeting the influences investigated here could be trialled in Australia.

Keywords: adolescents; antisocial behaviour; cross-cultural study; predictors; school suspension.