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Violence (rape, sexual abuse, commercial sexual exploitation, grooming, child abuse)

Violence Perpetration in Early Adolescence

Full Article Title: Violence Perpetration in Early Adolescence: A Study of Four Urban Communities Worldwide

Open Access: Yes



Purpose: Violence perpetration is common among adolescents worldwide but existing research largely focuses on boys, older adolescents, and partner violence. Our study sought to identify individual, family, and neighborhood/peer factors associated with violence perpetration in a multinational sample of male and female young adolescents.

Methods: We used cross-sectional data from 5,762 adolescents in four sites in the Global Early Adolescent Study: Flanders, Belgium; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Shanghai, China; and Semarang, Indonesia. Adolescents resided in high-poverty urban areas and were aged 10 to 14 years. Logistic regression examined pooled and stratified associations between independent variables with peer violence perpetration in the past six months. Factors included media viewing habits, gender norms, victimization, agency/empowerment, adversity, depression, familial relationships, neighborhood cohesion, and peer behaviors.

Results: Restricted-model analyses found increased odds of violence perpetration associated with high media consumption, pornography viewing, violence or bullying victimization, having drank alcohol, depressive symptoms, adverse childhood experiences, greater behavioral control, greater decision-making, feeling unsafe in the neighborhood/school, peer alcohol/tobacco use, and witnessing peers start a fight. Decreased odds of violence perpetration were associated with more egalitarian views on two gender norms scales, closer parental relationships, neighbors looking out for one another, and greater availability of adult help.

Discussion: Among young adolescents, increased odds of violence perpetration were related to a perceived lack of safety and risky peer behaviors. Parental and neighborhood connections were often associated with decreased perpetration. Further research examining the interplay of such factors among young adolescents is needed to inform effective intervention and policy.



Having viewed pornography was a factor found to be associated with increased violence perpetration in multiple of the study location…”pornography viewing in this age group is associated with violence perpetration.”



Beckwith, S., Lou, C., Michielsen, K., Mafuta, E., Wilopo, S. A., & Blum, R. W. (2022). Violence Perpetration in Early Adolescence: A Study of Four Urban Communities Worldwide. Journal of Adolescent Health, 71(5), 616-627.