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The present study aims to examine risk factors and risk-based and interactive protective factors for violent offending in a group of 437 young Australians.


Participants were recruited into the study when they were in Grade 5 (age 10–11 years) and followed up almost annually until young adulthood (age 18–19 years). Measures of violent offending, risk and protective factors, and demographics were obtained through a modification of the Communities That Care youth survey. The data collected enabled identification of groups of students at-risk of violent offending according to drug use, low family socioeconomic status, and antisocial behavior.


Very few associations were found between the risk factors and risk-based protective factors measured in this study (e.g., belief in the moral order, religiosity, peer recognition for prosocial involvement, attachment to parents, low commitment to school, and poor academic performance) and later self-reported violent offending. There were no statistically significant interactive protective factors.


Further longitudinal analyses with large sample sizes are needed to examine risk factors and risk-based protective factors and interactive protective factors in at-risk groups. The findings support the need for multi-faceted prevention and early intervention approaches that target multiple aspects of youth's lives.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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