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Awarded Research Grant to Prevent Violence and Violence-Related Injury

Why Some Generations Are More Violent Than Others

FOA Number: CE04-001 - Public Health Research Awards
Project Period: 9/30/04–9/29/07
Application/Grant Number: 1-K01-CE000495-01
Principal Investigator: Anthony Fabio, PhD
University of Pittsburgh
Department of Neurological Surgery
Suite B400, UPMC Presbyterian
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: 412-648-3901
Fax: 412-648-8924


Violence rates fluctuate from generation to generation. Are some generations more violent than others because of differences among cohorts or variations in social and environmental factors? The aim of this project is to further the knowledge about why violence rates fluctuate. Currently, violence trends are not clearly understood, and a diversity of contrasting explanations exists, including increased prevalence in certain age cohorts (the cohort effect) and social risk factors occurring during certain periods of time (the period effect). A major reason that so many explanations exist is that the causes for violence trends are multifactorial and occur at different levels, such as the community and individual levels. The study of these various factors and levels are rooted rather independently in public health, sociology, psychology, medicine, and other disciplines. Understanding these multifactorial public health problems can be improved if the gap between various disciplines is bridged. Previous analyses have shown that cohort effects are rendered insignificant by period effects, suggesting the importance of social factors on violence trends. This research program will undertake a series of analyses culminating in the development of a second-generation model, the proposed contextual-developmental model for violence. This model will expand on the individual developmental pathways identified by Rolf Loeber by incorporating social and environmental factors. Research findings will help to integrate public health and criminal justice prevention efforts into an effective overall program that will improve on past efforts and foster development of primary, secondary, and tertiary strategies aimed at the human, environmental, and instrumental elements of violence.