Risk and Direct Protective Factors for Youth Violence: Results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Multisite Violence Prevention Project
Henry, David B.
Schoeny, Michael E.
Tolan, Patrick H.
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Background: This study was conducted as part of a multi-site effort to examine risk and direct protective factors for youth violence. The goal was to identify those factors in the lives of young people that increase or decrease the risk of violence. These analyses fill an important gap in the literature, as few studies have examined risk and direct protective factors for youth violence across multiple studies. Methods: Data on 4432 middle school youth from the CDC Multisite Violence Prevention Project, allowed testing the effects of variables coded as risk and direct protective factors at the fall of sixth grade on violence measured in spring of seventh and eighth grades. Factors tested included depression, delinquency, alcohol and drug involvement, involvement in family activities, academic achievement, attitudes toward school, truancy, and peer deviance. Most variables were coded with two sets of dummy variables indicating risk and protective directions of effects. Results: Results showed that higher teacher-rated study skills were associated with lower subsequent violence across genders and ethnic groups. Affiliation with deviant peers was significantly associated with increased subsequent violence among youth reporting their race/ethnicity as white or other, marginally associated with increased violence among African-American youth, and unrelated among Latino youth. Conclusions: This study identified some factors than should be areas of interest for effective prevention programs. Some ethnic differences should also be considered in planning of prevention. Trial registration number: The CDC Multisite Violence Prevention Project completed enrollment prior to July 2005.