Associate Professor of Criminology, University of Texas at Dallas
- Oppositional defiant problems were a weak indicator of violence prevalence but a strong indicator of violence frequency.
- Individual-level predictors of violence included prior violence, deviant peers, family criminality and mental health problems, and poor family relations.
- Community-level predictors of violence included neighborhood ties, neighborhood decline, and lack of neighborhood organizations and social morals.
In the article, “The Link Between Mental Health Problems and Youth Violence in Adolescence,” Boots and her co-authors examine the role mental health problems play in displays of violence in adolescents to predict future outcomes. To conduct their study, the researchers used data from the Longitudinal Cohort Study from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods. The 1,201 participants were chosen by using a stratified sampling design based on race/ethnic and socioeconomic status of their neighborhoods. The two variables the researchers examined were violence prevalence, described as having reported involvement with specified violent behaviors and frequency of violence, described as the number of violent behaviors in the past year. The results showed that oppositional defiant problems were weak indicators of violence prevalence but strong indicators of violence frequency. They also determined that prior violence, deviant peers, family criminality and mental health problems, and poor family relations were individual predictors of violence. Finally, they found neighborhood ties, neighborhood decline, and lack of neighborhood organizations and social morals were community predictors of violence.