may be in scattered physical locations, but the Internet provides an opportunity to link up with like-minded people and to reinforce and condone those behaviors and maybe lead to action. But she also acknowledged that the Internet has provided extensive opportunities in terms of promoting alternatives and providing youth different forms of relationships and ways to have relationships.

Youth Factors

Several workshop speakers suggested that age can play a role in the contagion of violence. Dr. Dubow cited that the youngest children within his studies have been the most impressionable in terms of the exposure to violence. Additionally, evidence shows that exposure to ethnopolitical violence adversely affects a child’s emotional security toward his or her community, which in turn leads to more externalizing behaviors such as aggression and attention disorders (Cummings et al., 2010, 2011). Dr. Gould noted that suicide clusters occur primarily among teenagers and young adults in the United States. She commented that one of the hypotheses for the youth factor is that neurocognitive functioning in adolescence is not fully developed. Youth decision making and impulsivity might be one reason why young people may be more susceptible to transmissions through media reporting and other peer and social networks.

Socioeconomic Factors

Dr. Rosenberg noted that one of the increasing interests in global health and disease prevention is social and economic determinants, possibly even more so than physiological determinants of health. He suggested this is an area that holds great potential for contributing to the contagion of violence model. Dr. Slutkin commented that violence itself is a social and economic determinant of the other health issues and, arguably, could be the dominant social and economic determinant of health outcomes. Dr. Fagan added that the socioeconomic determinants that often are risk factors of violence are also risk factors for other adverse health outcomes.


The evidence supporting the contagion of violence within and across types of violence has implications for designing interventions to interrupt the contagion. Many speakers commented that, like other infectious diseases, a reduction in the spread of violence requires interventions that reduce susceptibility and devise new norms. Several speakers also noted that interventions designed to prevent the spread of one type of violence

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement