Modifiable determinants of youth violence in Australia and the United States: A longitudinal study

Sheryl A. Hemphill, Rachel Smith, John W. Toumbourou, Todd I. Herrenkohl, Richard F. Catalano, Barbara J. McMorris, Helena Romaniuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Youth violence is a global problem. Few studies have examined whether the prevalence or predictors of youth violence are similar in comparable Western countries like Australia and the United States (US). In the current article, analyses are conducted using two waves of data collected as part of a longitudinal study of adolescent development in approximately 4,000 students aged 12 to 16 years in Victoria, Australia and Washington State, US. Students completed a self-report survey of problem behaviours including violent behaviour, as well as risk and protective factors across five domains (individual, family, peer, school, community). Compared to Washington State, rates of attacking or beating another over the past 12 months were lower in Victoria for females in the first survey and higher for Victorian males in the follow-up survey. Preliminary analyses did not show state-specific predictors of violent behaviour. In the final multivariate analyses of the combined Washington State and Victorian samples, protective factors were being female and student emotion control. Risk factors were prior violent behaviour, family conflict, association with violent peers, community disorganisation, community norms favourable to drug use, school suspensions and arrests. Given the similarity of influential factors in North America and Australia, application of US early intervention and prevention programs may be warranted, with some tailoring to the Australian context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-309
Number of pages21
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009


  • Adolescents
  • Cross-national study
  • Longitudinal study
  • Risk and protective factors
  • Youth violence


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