In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Youth Violence

  • Introduction

Criminology Youth Violence
Anthony Peguero
  • LAST REVIEWED: 21 December 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 September 2015
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396607-0193


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, youth violence is a top public health concern because of the long-lasting, detrimental effects on physical health, emotional well-being, educational progress, and socioeconomic stability well into adulthood. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention broadly defines the issue of youth violence as harmful behaviors that can start early and continue into young adulthood—more specifically, a young person as a victim, an offender, or a witness to the violence. Thus, understanding and addressing youth violence has been a growing priority in the United States for researchers, policymakers, community stakeholder, and families. The social concern about youth violence is particularly pressing because of the abundant research evidence indicating that youth who commit, experience, and witness a significant portion of all violence than any other age group. To this end, there are a number of theoretical and conceptual arguments that hypothesize the correlates and predictors of youth violence. Additionally, context or environment matters in order to understand and address youth violence. Research demonstrates that there are disparate youth vulnerabilities to violence. It is also emerging that there is a growing need to investigate youth violence in relation to diversity in the age of globalization.

Theoretical Overviews

There are a number of criminological theories that are proven to explain and predict youth violence. The purpose of this theoretical overview is to highlight the predominant conceptual frameworks that researchers, scholars, and policymakers draw upon in order to understand and address youth violence.

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