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Violence Research Centre


Our research team has been very productive and here is the latest overview of papers by VRC researchers and its international collaborators. To find out more about the projects that have inspired and provided data for these papers, please visit our Research page.



Leos-Toro Cesar, Ribeaud Denis, Bechtiger Laura, Steinhoff Annekatrin, Nivette Amy, Murray Aja, Hepp Urs, Quednow Boris, Eisner Manuel, Shanahan Lilly (2021). Attitudes Toward COVID-19 Vaccination Among Young Adults in Zurich, Switzerland, September 2020, International Journal of Public Health. 66, 38, DOI: 10.3389/ijph.2021.643486


Objectives: Young adults are essential to the effective mitigation of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19) given their tendency toward greater frequency of social interactions. Little is known about vaccine willingness during pandemics in European populations. This study examined young people’s attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccines in Fall 2020.

Methods: Data came from an ongoing longitudinal study’s online COVID-19-focused supplement among young adults aged 22 in Zurich, Switzerland (N = 499) in September 2020. Logistic regressions examined young adults’ likelihood of participating in COVID-19 immunization programs.

Results: Approximately half of respondents reported being unlikely to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Compared to males, females were more likely to oppose COVID-19 vaccination (p < 0.05). In multivariate models, Sri Lankan maternal background and higher socioeconomic status were associated with a greater likelihood of getting vaccinated against COVID-19 (p < 0.05). Respondents were more likely to report a willingness to get vaccinated against COVID-19 when they perceived 1) an effective government response (p < 0.05) and 2) their information sources to be objective (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: This study communicates aspects important to the development of targeted information campaigns to promote engagement in COVID-19 immunization efforts.


Adolescent mental health, aggression and delinquency

Murray, A.L., Nagin, D., Obsuth, O., Ribeaud, D., Eisner, M. (2020). Adulthood outcomes of joint mental health trajectories: A group-based trajectory model analysis of a 13-year longitudinal cohort study. Child Psychiatry & Human Development. In press. Preprint link: 


Developmental trajectories of common mental health issues such as ADHD symptoms, internalising problems, and externalising problems can often be usefully summarised in terms of a small number of ‘developmental subtypes’ (e.g., ‘childhood onset ADHD’, ‘adolescent onset ADHD’) that may differ in their profiles or levels of clinically meaningful variables such as etiological risk factors. However, given the strong tendency for symptoms in these domains to co-occur, it is important to consider not only developmental subtypes in each domain individually, but also the joint developmental subtypes defined by symptoms trajectories in all three domains together (e.g., ‘late onset multimorbid’, ‘pure internalising’, ‘early onset multimorbid’). Previous research has illuminated the joint developmental subtypes of ADHD symptoms, internalising problems, and externalising problems that emerge from normative longitudinal data using methods such as group-based trajectory modelling, as well as predictors of membership in these developmental subtypes. However, information on the long-term outcomes of developmental subtype membership is critical to illuminate the likely nature and intensity of support needs required for individuals whose trajectories fit different developmental subtypes. We, therefore, evaluated the relations between developmental subtypes previously derived using group-based trajectory modelling in the z-proso study (n=1620 with trajectory data at ages 7,8,9,10,11,12,13,15) and early adulthood outcomes.  Individuals with multimorbid trajectories but not ‘pure’ internalising problem elevations showed higher levels of social exclusion and delinquency at age 20. These associations held irrespective of the specific developmental course of symptoms (e.g., early versus late onset versus remitting). There was also some evidence that intimate partner violence acts as a form of heterotypic continuity for earlier externalising problems.  Results underline the need for early intervention to address the pathways that lead to social exclusion and delinquency among young people with multiple co-occurring mental health issues. 


Defoe, I.; van Gelder, J.-L.; Ribeaud, D.; Eisner, M. (2021). The co-development of friend delinquency with adolescent delinquency and short-term mindsets: The moderating role of co-offending. Journal of Youth and Adolescence,


The companions in crime hypothesis suggests that co-offending moderates the link between peer delinquency and adolescent delinquency. However, this hypothesis has rarely been investigated longitudinally. Hence, this study investigated the co-development of friends’ delinquency and adolescents’ delinquency, as well as the co-development of friends’ delinquency and short-term mindsets (impulsivity and lack of school future orientation). Whether this co-development is stronger when adolescents engage in co-offending was also investigated. Three data waves with two year lags from an ethnically-diverse adolescent sample (at wave 1: N = 1365; 48.6% female; Mage = 13.67; age range = 12.33–15.09 years) in Switzerland were used. The results from parallel process latent growth modeling showed that the co-development between friends’ delinquency and adolescents’ delinquency was stronger when adolescents engaged in co-offending. Thus co-offending likely provides direct access to a setting in which adolescents continue to model the delinquency they learned with their peers.


Eisner, M., Averdijk, M., Kaiser, D., Murray, A. L., Nivette, A., Shanahan, L., van Gelder, J., & Ribeaud, D. (2021). The association of polyvictimization with violent ideations in late adolescence and early adulthood: A longitudinal study. Aggressive Behavior, 1– 11. paper was showcased on the University of Cambridge’s Research page


Violent ideations are increasingly recognized as an important psychological predictor for aggressive and violent behavior. However, little is known about the processes that contribute to violent ideations. This paper examines the extent to which polyvictimization triggers violent ideations in late adolescence and early adulthood, while also adjusting for dispositional and situational factors as well as prior violent ideations. Data came from three waves of the Zurich Project on the Social Development from Childhood into Adulthood (z‐proso; n = 1465). Full‐information maximum likelihood Tobit models were fitted to regress violent ideations experienced at ages 17 and 20 on multiple victimization experiences in the preceding 12 months while controlling for antecedent developmental risk factors and prior violent ideations. The results showed that violent ideations in late adolescence and early adulthood are influenced by violent thoughts, aggressive behavior, violent media consumption, moral neutralization of violence, and internalizing symptoms measured 2 years earlier. Experiences of polyvictimization significantly contributed to an increase in violent ideations both during late adolescence and in early adulthood. The exposure–response relationship between victimization and violent ideations did not significantly differ by sex. The findings are consistent with the notion that violent ideations are triggered by a retaliation‐linked psychological mechanism that entails playing out other directed imaginary aggressive scenarios specifically in response to experiencing intentional harm‐doing by others.


Obsuth, I.; Murray, A.; Knoll, M.; Ribeaud, D.; Eisner, M. (in print). Teacher-student relationships in childhood as a protective factor against adolescent delinquency up to age 17 – a propensity score matching approach. Crime and Delinquency,


In this paper we examined the impact of the quality of teacher-student relationships at age 10 on young people’s delinquency at ages 13, 15, and 17 utilizing propensity-score matching. The young people were matched based on 105 characteristics, measured at ages 7 to 10. The sample comprised 1483 (49.4% female) adolescents representing around 80 different countries of origin, residing in Zurich, Switzerland. We found that young people who reported a better relationship with their teacher at age 10, engaged in fewer delinquent acts at ages 13, 15, and 17. These findings suggest that when young people perceive a better relationship with their teachers this serves as a protective factor against their engagement in delinquency up to 7 years later.


Human Trafficking

Klea Ramaj (2021). The Aftermath of Human Trafficking: Exploring the Albanian Victims’ Return, Rehabilitation, and Reintegration Challenges, Journal of Human Trafficking, DOI: 10.1080/23322705.2021.1920823. Read an article about this paper here.


Since the collapse of communism in the 1990s, Albanian women and children have been increasingly trafficked in countries across Europe. While extensive literature addresses the organizational structure and the factors making human trafficking thrive, the experiences of victims of human trafficking upon their return to their home countries is a commonly under-represented concern. This article addresses the present gap in research by exploring the rehabilitation and reintegration challenges faced by Albanian victims of sex trafficking and forced begging upon their return to Albania, as reflected by 15 professionals providing direct assistance to the victims. The fieldwork was conducted in three Albanian cities and all four organizations responsible for the rehabilitation and reintegration of trafficking victims in Albania participated in the study. Data from the interviews with practitioners indicate that most victims returned involuntarily to Albania. During the rehabilitation and reintegration process, victims encountered numerous challenges on individual, familial, social, economic, legal, and institutional levels. Findings suggest that following their return to Albania, victims are perplexed regarding their self-identity, face health problems, criminal prosecutions, familial exclusion, and stigmatization, and lack support in gaining economic independence, feeling safe, and accessing justice.




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