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characteristics or components that support effectiveness, and challenges for effective programming and research.


David Hawkins’ presentation focused mainly on what is known about youth violence prevention in the United States, the evidence base that supports it, and what elements of effective interventions might be exportable to developing countries for implementation in their epidemiological contexts. The advances in youth violence prevention in the United States and other developed countries have occurred only during the last 27 years; prior to that, there had been only nine true experimental studies for delinquency prevention—and none of them were shown to be effective. The basic premise of the science-based, public health approach to violence prevention is that if you want to prevent a problem before it happens, you need to identify the predictors of that problem. Longitudinal studies that have followed children forward from birth or a bit older have identified factors that, when present in earlier childhood development, predict negative outcomes. Some of these individual, family, and community risk factors include early and persistent antisocial behavior, friends who engage in problem behaviors, alcohol and substance use, and constitutional factors which are individual characteristics carried forward over time and can be induced by the environment (ingestion of lead paint often leads to increased violent behavior) or be genetically determined; family conflict or management problems (failure to monitor children or set clear behavioral expectations; caregivers’ engaging in child maltreatment) and extreme economic deprivation; availability of drugs and firearms, community norms that are permissive of violence, and media portrayal of violence, respectively. Risk factors were also identified in schools, such as academic failure. These studies have identified not only risk factors, but also protective or promotive factors that appear to promote healthy, crime- and violence-free child development. These protective factors include high intelligence, resilient temperament, and competencies and skills in individuals. In the social domains of family, school, peer groups, and neighborhoods, they include prosocial opportunities; reinforcement for prosocial involvement; social bonding in family, schools, or neighborhoods; and healthy beliefs and clear standards of behavior. Hawkins stressed that even though there is consistency across samples from developed nations for these risk factors, none of them is a single cause of the adverse outcomes they can often predict in youth—such as substance abuse, teen pregnancy and paternity, dropping out of school, depression and anxiety, delinquency, and violence. They do, however, provide a convenient catalogue of risk factors that are potential

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