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Understanding and preventing youth violence

NSF Award:

Workshop on Youth Violence  (Ohio State University)

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The tragic shooting events in Newtown, Conn., prompted NSF to sponsor a workshop on youth violence. The two-day meeting brought together researchers from sociology, anthropology, psychology, communication, computer science, information systems and public policy.

A report based on the workshop, "Youth Violence: What We Need to Know," describes much of the information the scientific community has compiled regarding the precursors and causes of violence perpetrated by children and adolescents. It also characterizes a range of issues requiring further study to better predict and prevent violent incidents.

The report states that, "Although tragic events like the Newtown shooting are caused by multiple risk factors, three main factors have been discussed: Exposure to guns, exposure to violent media and mental health. We have a body of reliable evidence and a stable of theories to explain youth violence that have emerged from decades of research." The report also notes, however, that, "Though we know a great deal about the etiology of youth violence, the changing online and gaming landscape, state level variation in access to weapons and evolving nature of family structure, among other changes, require a forward looking research agenda to examine these changes and new challenges."

To guide future research into the prediction and prevention of youth violence, including tragic school shootings, workshop participants developed a focused set of questions and a research agenda. Continued study offers the opportunity to reduce youth violence in the future.


  • cover of nsf report on youth violence
NSF workshop report on youth violence.

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