Awarded Grant to Prevent Violence and Violence-Related Injury


Our understanding of the developmental pathways and social circumstances contributing to the perpetration of violence in young adulthood is sharply limited.

This study, “Young Adult Violence: Modifiable Predictors and Paths (YAVMPP) will help fill this gap as the first large (n=6,987), longitudinal (subjects followed for an average of 23 years) study of low-income subjects to determine predictors and pathways to early adult violence. YAVMPP informs prevention of intimate partner violence, sexual violence and child maltreatment, as well as other forms of violence. We explore developmental timing and salience of key risk factors, child and adolescent characteristics and behaviors, and public social services use as they relate to perpetration and victimization in young adulthood. We are particularly interested in identifying those service systems which engage future perpetrators before perpetration begins, so that venues for the basing of preventative services can be identified. The proposed work will also contribute to the emerging knowledge base around gender differences and their association with perpetration and victimization. This research project includes two “value added” components not specified in the FOA. First, we track perpetration and victimization, allowing a more complete understanding of violent injury. Second, tracking other forms of violence allows us to evaluate generalist vs. specialist conceptualizations of violence better. Study aims are pursued using state-of-the-art statistical techniques to identify subjects with particular clusters of modifiable factors as well as individual developmental trajectories. The study uses an integrated database, drawing from many administrative sources. From birth to age 18, our data include court records (restraining orders against subjects and caretakers), mental health services, special education, child welfare, emergency room visits and inpatient hospitalization (health/mental health), income maintenance, juvenile court and corrections, birth and death records, runaway shelter, Census data, and community demographics and crime rates. In adulthood, data include arrests, child welfare (as perpetrator), corrections, court (TRO/RO for perpetrators and victims), income maintenance, mental health, ER visits (health/mental health), birth, death and marriage records. The integrated database to be used in the proposed work will be an extended and enhanced version of the databases developed during three prior grants from ACYF and NIH over the past nine years. The proposed research team is uniquely positioned to do this work. It includes research expertise in child maltreatment, crime, youth violence and delinquency, mental health services to children, and intimate partner violence, as well as clinical practice experience in child welfare (Drake), school social work (Jonson-Reid) domestic violence victim (Kohl) and perpetrator (Jonson-Reid) counseling, as well as mental health (Kohl) counseling. Consultants add additional expertise on longitudinal analysis (Widom) and criminality (Decker).