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Violence Research Centre


Our affiliated researchers have published a number of papers on violence prevention topics and well-being. Here is a selection of the latest contributions.



Childhood Risk and Protective Factors as Predictors of Adolescent Bullying Roles by Izabela Zych, David P. Farrington, Vicente J. Llorent, Denis Ribeaud, Manuel P. Eisner, International Journal of Bullying Prevention


This study shows longitudinal predictors of involvement in different bullying roles, including mental health, individual, family, peer and school predictors. The analyses were based on a longitudinal prospective study with 916 students followed up from ages 7 to 17 with 7 waves of data. Participants were selected through random sampling and were enrolled in 56 schools. Predictors were measured from ages 7 to 11 and involvement in bullying roles and trajectories from ages 11 to 17. Predictors of bullying perpetration were gender, substance use, truancy, ADHD, moral neutralization, self-control, parental monitoring, corporal punishment, liking school, and bonding with the teacher and classmates. Predictors of victimization were gender, substance use, truancy, internalizing problems, self-control, ADHD, bonding to classmates, and social activities. Predictors of bully/victims were gender, divorced parents, substance use, internalizing problems, ADHD, sensation seeking, moral neutralization, self-control, corporal punishment, parental monitoring, liking school, bonding to classmates, and social activities. Truancy was a risk factor for perpetration mostly in girls; low self-control was a risk factor for perpetration especially in boys. Truant children with high classmates bonding were at high risk of perpetration. Low parental monitoring was a risk factor for perpetration in children who did not like school. Low social activities with peers were a risk factor for victimization in boys and substance use was a risk factor for victimization especially in children with low self-control. High classmates bonding was protective against victimization in non-truant children and against being a bully/victim in children with high sensation seeking. Early interventions focused on risk and protective factors could possibly protect children from bullying.


COVID-19 - Public Health Compliance

Non-compliance with COVID-19-related public health measures among young adults: Insights from a longitudinal cohort study by Amy Nivette, Denis Ribeaud, Aja Murray, Annekatrin Steinhoff, Laura Bechtiger, Urs Hepp, Lilly Shanahan, Manuel Eisner.  


Background: Do young adults have low compliance rates with public health measures aimed at curbing the spread of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)? This paper leverages a prospective-longitudinal cohort study with data before and during the pandemic to examine this question. Methods: Data came from an ongoing cohort study (n=737). Non-compliance with public health measures and concurrent correlates were measured at age 22. Antecedent sociodemographic, social, and psychological factors were measured at ages 15-20. Findings: Young adults generally complied with COVID-19 public health measures, although compliance with some measures (e.g., cleaning/disinfecting mobile phones, standing 1.5-2 meters apart) was relatively lower. Non-compliance, especially with hygiene-related measures, was more prevalent in males, and in individuals with higher education, higher SES, and a non- migrant background. Non-compliance was associated with “antisocial potential,” including pre-pandemic low acceptance of moral rules, legal cynicism, low shame/guilt, low self-control, engagement in delinquent behaviors, and association with delinquent peers. Young adults with low trust, including in the government’s measures for fighting the virus, also complied less. Interpretation: In order to increase voluntary compliance with COVID-19 measures, public health campaigns should implement strategies that foster moral obligation and trust in authorities, or leverage trustworthy individuals in the community to disseminate information. For young adults with low self-control, self-monitoring, environmental restructuring, or nudging may increase compliance. Long-term investments into integrating antisocial youth into society may decrease rule-breaking behaviors, including during pandemics when compliance saves lives.



Child maltreatment prevention – South Africa

Moderators of Treatment Effects in a Child Maltreatment Prevention Programme in South Africa by Yulia Shenderovich Aja Louise Murray Lucie Cluver Manuel Eisner


Background. Previous research has found mixed results on whether the most disadvantaged families benefit as much as less disadvantaged families from parenting interventions designed to reduce child maltreatment, and little in known in low-income settings. Objective. In this study, we test the effects of child, caregiver, household, and community characteristics as treatment moderators of intervention outcomes – child maltreatment and parenting practices. We test characteristics previously examined elsewhere as well as factors relevant to the South African context. Participants and Setting. This analysis includes adolescents (ages 10-18) and their caregivers (N=552 pairs) who participated in a randomised trial of a parenting programme in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Methods. Data from the caregiver and adolescent standardised questionnaires collected at baseline, post-test (1-month post-intervention), and follow-up (5-9 months) were analysed using longitudinal multilevel analyses. We tested seven hypothesised moderators for each of the primary outcomes through interactions of treatment effect with baseline moderators. Results. No moderator effects were statistically significant after correcting for multiple comparisons testing. Hence, in line with several recent studies examining moderation effects in parenting programmes, our study suggests that parenting interventions aiming to reduce child maltreatment and promote parenting skills in low-and middle-income countries may be similarly effective for families facing various levels of economic, social, and health risk factors. Conclusions. It may be useful to explicitly power trials for testing moderator effects, study different types of moderators and use person-centred analyses to further understand variations in treatment effects



Teen Delinquency

Sanctions, short‐term mindsets, and delinquency: Reverse causality in a sample of high school youth. Legal and Criminological Psychology by Van Gelder, Jean-Louis,  Averdijk, Margit, Ribeaud, Denis and Eisner, Manuel, Legal and Criminological Psychology.


Purpose We question the commonly assumed view of a fixed causal ordering between self‐control, delinquency, and sanctions and test the hypothesis that experiencing sanctions may reduce levels of self‐control, thereby increasing the risk of future delinquent behaviour. As a subsidiary goal, we argue for a parsimonious view of self‐control that is limited to its key components, risk‐taking, and impulsivity. Methods We use three waves of data from the Zurich Project on the Social Development from Childhood into Adulthood (z‐proso), an ongoing prospective longitudinal study of Swiss urban youth ( = 1,197), and include police contacts and school sanctions as predictors of delinquency. We test our hypothesis using path analysis and control for a series of potential confounders, including prior levels of self‐control and earlier delinquency. Results In line with our hypothesis, the results indicate that sanctioning reduces levels of self‐control, net of prior levels of self‐control, and earlier delinquency and that self‐control mediates the relation between sanctioning and subsequent delinquency. Conclusions We conclude that the relation between self‐control and crime may be bi‐ rather than unidirectional with sanctions reducing levels of self‐control, which in turn contributes to criminal behaviour. Implications for theory are discussed.


Teen Wellbeing

Reciprocal Developmental Relations Between ADHD and Anxiety in Adolescence: A Within-Person Longitudinal Analysis of Commonly Co-Occurring Symptoms by Murray, Aja, Caye, Arthur, Mckenzie, Karen, Auyeung, Bonnie, Murray, George, Ribeaud, Denis, Freeston, Mark, Eisner, Manuel, Journal of Attention Disorders.


Objective: Significant anxiety often occurs in the presence of ADHD symptoms; however, the reasons are not well understood. We aimed to establish whether the relations between ADHD symptoms and anxiety are bidirectional or unidirectional. Method: We examined the developmental relations between ADHD and anxiety symptoms across adolescence (ages 13, 15, and 17) in a community-ascertained, normative longitudinal sample of 1,483 youth (52% male). We used an autoregressive latent trajectory model with structured residuals (ALT-SR) to examine within-person developmental relations between ADHD and anxiety symptoms to determine whether it is ADHD symptoms that lead to anxiety symptoms and/or the reverse. Results: Results suggested that there are reciprocal within-person developmental relations between ADHD and anxiety symptoms. Conclusions: Our findings support the recommendation that targeting ADHD symptoms can be fruitful for addressing anxiety symptoms; however, they suggest that targeting anxiety symptoms may also benefit ADHD symptoms. Results also underline the importance of careful assessment for underlying ADHD symptoms among adolescents presenting with anxiety.


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