The Causes And Different Forms Of Youth Violence

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Table of contents

  1. Abstract
  2. Youth Violence
  3. References


This paper includes a series of literature reviews that together provide a broad context of violent crime involving youth. Youth violence can take many shapes and forms and involve many different types of people. For example, a youngster acquires a firearm to a recreation center in order to threaten a gathering of youth who have been bullying and prodding him in the course of recent years. A fight splits out and somebody winds up getting shot. Another example would comprise of a young lady encountering threats and attacks at school on account of the shade of her skin. According to the World Health Organization, globally 83% of youth homicide victims are males, and in all countries males also constitute the majority of perpetrators. Rates of youth homicide among females are much lower than rates among males almost everywhere (2016). Homicide rates among youths 15–19 years of age increased 154% and remain, today, at historically high levels (Witmer, 2019). Youth Violence is a learned behavior. A child's first experience of violence may include their parents, family members or their friends. Studies have shown that children who have witnessed violent acts, either as a victim or as a victimizer, are more likely to grow up to become involved in violence. Absence of positive role models, violence in families, victims due to violence, poverty and living in a community where crime is committed all contribute to youth violence (Wathen, 2013).Thus, the purpose of this report is to briefly outline major theories that have examined the root causes of crime and violence among the youth. We will discuss the Transtheoretical Model and, psychological, and self control theories. Also, the impact on the population that is affected.

Youth Violence

The impact that violence plays on the african american youth is draining. Black adolescents and young adults are at higher risk for the most physically harmful forms of violence (e.g., homicides, fights with injuries, aggravated assaults) compared with whites. In addition, black adults reported exposure to a higher number of adverse childhood experiences than whites (Sheats, 2018). Sheats proceeded to talk about the adverse childhood experiences and how they were positively associated with increased odds of self-reported coronary heart disease, fair or poor physical health, experiencing frequent mental distress, heavy drinking, and current smoking (2018). According to the Center for Disease Control, youth violence is a significant public health problem that affects thousands of young people each day, and in turn, their families, schools, and communities.Youth violence is an adverse childhood experience and is connected to other forms of violence, including child abuse and neglect, teen dating violence, adult intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and suicide (2020).

The Transtheoretical Model (TTM) has been widely used to describe and understand exercise behavior, such as adoption and maintenance of PA (Han et al., 2017). The four core constructs of TTM are stages of change, self-efficacy, decisional balance, and processes of change. The TTM holds that people begin to perceive more benefits than disadvantages from adopting positive behavior changes as they move through the later stages (Han et al., 2015). Parents or other adults who are positive role models, may lay the foundation that is needed to enable the child to begin to build pieces of their conscience and strong moral development. This will hopefully be the platform for a child's ability to learn and use more appropriate ways to solve problems.

In the opinion of the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services (MCCS), the issue of youth violence is also a major topic within the academic discipline of psychology. As biosocial theorists do, psychologists focus on how individual characteristics may interact with the social environment to produce a violent event. However, rather than focus on the biological basis of crime, psychologists focus on how mental processes impact individuals for violence (2016). Psychologists are often interested in the association between learning, intelligence, and personality and aggressive behavior. Some of the major psychological perspectives that have attempted to explain violent behavior would include the psychodynamic perspective, behavioural theory, cognitive theory and personality theory (Rikza, 2016). The psychodynamic perspective is mainly based on the concrete ideas of Sigmund Freud. Freud’s psychodynamic theory is established on the supposition that human behavior is pushed by thoughts and sentiments that lie in our subconscious brain. Unfortunately, the theory has not yet been subject to rigorous scientific verification. Often because of childhood neglect or abuse, violence-prone individuals suffer from weak or damaged “egos” that render them unable to deal with stressful circumstances within conventional society. It is also argued that youth with weak egos are immature and easily led into crime and violence by deviant peers (Rikza, 2016). 

Behavioral theory keeps up all human behavior (including vicious conduct) as being learned through association with the social environment. Behaviorists contend that individuals are not brought into the world with a brutal attitude. Behavioural theorists believe that the following four factors help produce violence: 1)stimulus (like a threat, challenge or assault) that heightens arousal; 2) aggressive techniques learned through observing others; 3) the thought that negative behavior will be socially rewarded (taking away frustration, providing material goods (Money or food) or earning the praise of other people); and 4) a system that condones violent behavior within certain social contexts (toting guns and/or promoting violence in a music video). Cognitive theory focuses on how people look at their social environment and learn to solve problems. The values and intellectual development view is the branch of cognitive theory that is most associated with the study of crime and violence. Another area of cognitive theory that has received considerable attention from violence researchers involves the study of information processing.When people make decisions, they go through a series of complex thought processes. First they cipher and interpret the information (stimuli) they are presented with, then they search for a proper response (appropriate behavior), and finally, they act upon their decision. Cherry (2019) executed that Numerous personality theories exist and most of the major ones fall into one of four major perspectives. Each of these perspectives on personality attempts to describe different patterns in personality, including how these patterns form and how people differ on an individual level. Personality theory is described from a psychological point of view. It is described to be the traits, behaviors, attitudes, and thoughts compiled to create a person's personality.

The psychoanalytic perspective of personality emphasizes the importance of early childhood experiences and the unconscious mind. This perspective on personality was created by psychiatrist Sigmund Freud who believed that things hidden in the unconscious could be revealed in a number of different ways, including through dreams, free association, and slips of the tongue (Cherry, 2019). The humanistic perspective of personality focuses on psychological growth, free will, and personal awareness. It takes a more positive outlook on human nature and is centered on how each person can achieve their individual potential (Osafo, Wood,Boyce & Dunn, 2015 pg.455-470). The trait perspective of personality is centered on identifying, describing and measuring the specific traits that make up human personality (Fleeson and Jayawickreme, 2015). Lastly, the social intellectual point of view of personality stresses the significance of observational learning, self-viability, situational impacts, and psychological procedures. By understanding these traits, researchers believe they can better comprehend the differences between individuals. A study on violence was conducted in North Central Nigeria. There was an estimated population above two million people. For some time now, Ilorin has been regarded as the most “peaceful” State Capital in the North Central geo-political zone; due to rare outburst of violence and criminality. However, in the recent past, the peaceful atmosphere of the State Capital has been under serious threat owing to frequent outburst of youth violence, particularly in socially disadvantaged neighbourhoods (SDNs). Consequently, youth violence has attracted the attention of policy makers and stakeholders in the State Capital, thereby occupying an important space in local discourses. This study undertook a review of theories of violence, in order to understand the etiology of youth violence in Ilorin and in particular Nigeria as a whole. It assessed the implications of various psychological theories for developing strategies and policy frameworks for promoting long-lasting, sustainable peace (Abdullahi, A., Seedat-Khan, M., & Abdulrahman, S. 2016).

Self Control Theory is the generic theory of crime. It was developed through social control theory. In the late twentieth century, Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi took on the criminal equity and criminological culture by scrutinizing the idea of the vocation criminal. Gottfredson and Hirschi further built up their origin of the reasons for crime and typified it inside another theory: the general theory of crime. While self-control theory underlines the significance of social bonds as a protecting element against criminal contribution, the general theory of crime sets that low self-control is a key factor in fundamental culpability. This more current control hypothesis is frequently alluded to as self-control theory because of its attention on this viewpoint. Gottfredson and Hirschi coordinated parts of different speculations to shape the general hypothesis of crime, obtaining ideas from routine exercises hypothesis, level headed decision theory (rational choice), and other mental and organically based social speculations of crime. Wickert discussed that Hirschi assumes in his social bonds theory that humans have a natural tendency to delinquency. The interesting question for him is what prevents people from violating norms. According to Hirschi, conformity is generated by social control. Hirschi distinguishes four different forms of social bonds and their influence on social control: attachment, commitment, involvement and belief (2019). As previously discussed, some have scrutinized the degree to which this origination of crime is dependent on levels of self-control can be utilized to clarify all culpable. Further, pundits of the general theory of crime have discovered the dependence on discretion as the basic clarification of crime risky.

Overall, children have minds of their own. As they begin to mature, their new self-determination will sometimes lead them to misbehave in various ways. A parent's patience as they interact daily with their children is important. Hitting, slapping or spanking a child as punishment often sends the message that it is okay to hit others to solve problems. A more productive approach may be to help the child figure out what they did wrong and show them how to learn from their mistakes. Sahni expressed biochemical factors that might influence aggression range from nutrition to allergies,Some biosocial theorists believe that biochemical conditions (including those acquired through diet) can control or influence violent behaviour (2016). The CDC concluded that, Youth homicides and nonfatal physical assault-related injuries result in more than $21 billion annually in combined medical and lost productivity costs alone, not including costs associated with the criminal justice system, psychological and social consequences for victims, perpetrators and their families, or costs incurred by communities (2020).

In closing, we’re going to address the risk of violent behaviors in youth and how the previous given theories (ie. Psychological Theory) correlate. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in a 2015 nationally-representative survey of youth in grades 9-12: 22.6% reported being in a physical fight in the 12 months before the survey. 5.3% of high school students reported carrying a gun on one or more days in the 30 days. Preceding the survey; the prevalence was higher among males (8.7%) than females(1.6%). The CDC also stated, Risk factors are characteristics linked with youth violence, but they are not direct causes of youth violence. A combination of individual, relationship (Family), community, and societal factors contribute to the risk of youth violence. Research on youth violence has increased our understanding of factors that make some populations more vulnerable to victimization and perpetration. Many risk factors for youth violence are linked to experiencing toxic stress, or stress that is prolonged and repeated. Toxic stress can negatively change the brain development of children and youth. Toxic stress can result from issues like living in impoverished neighborhoods, experiencing food insecurity, experiencing racism, limited access to support and medical services, and living in homes with violence, mental health problems, substance abuse, and other instability (2020). Some individual risk factors include: 1) history of brutal exploitation; 2) contribution with medications, liquor, or tobacco; 3) introduction to viciousness and conflict in the family. Relationship risk factors include: 1) Brutal, remiss, or conflicting disciplinary practices; 2) Low parental contribution; 3) Poor checking and supervision of kids. Community risk factors include: 1) Socially scattered neighborhoods; 2) Decreased economic chances; 3) Low degrees of community support. Societal risk factors include: 1) Relationship with rebellious companions; 2) Being involved in gangs; 3) Poor scholastic execution. All in all, these health behaviors correlate with my chosen theories by implementing the “reasons” behind youth violence, or the “why” specific behaviors occur.

In order to prevent these vicious behaviors, here are several protective factors that can prevent youth violence. Protective factors may lessen the likelihood of youth violence victimization or perpetration. Identifying and understanding protective factors are equally as important as researching risk factors (CDC, 2020). Some individual protective factors include: 1) Bigoted mentality toward deviance; 2) Notoriety recognized by peers; 3) High educational yearnings. Relationship protective factors include: 1) Ability to talk about issues with guardians; 2) Reliable presence of parent during one of the accompanying events: when waking up, when showing up home from school, at night supper time, or when heading to sleep; 3) Guardians involvement in extracurricular activities. Community protective factors include: 1) Socially organized neighborhoods; 2) High levels of community participation (food drives or volunteer work); 3) Low levels of family disruption. Societal protective factors include: 1) Presentation to school atmospheres with the accompanying qualities: Intensive supervision, clear conduct rules, firm disciplinary techniques, and engagement of guardians and educators; 2) Ownership of affective associations with those at school that are solid, close, and prosocially situated; 3) Close associations with positive peers.

Youth violence is preventable. There are many methods to help prevent youth violence and its effects (Programs that support parents and teach positive parenting skills, therapeutic approaches for youths at high risk of being involved in violence). There are also many facts and actions involving youth violence that may be a source of conflicting opinions on the matter. As used in this report, risk factors are personal characteristics or environmental conditions that predict the beginning or surge of violence. A few environmental factors that influence youth violence are: Socially disorganized neighborhoods, High level of family disruption, and Diminished economic opportunities (CDC, 2020). The various article's are priceless. They gave a vast amount of information on the cause and effects of youth violence and the health behaviors behind it. Altogether, comprehending that your actions play a big impact on the youth is principle.

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Abdullahi, A., Seedat-Khan, M., & Abdulrahman, S. (2016). A Review of Youth Violence Theories: Developing Interventions to Promote Sustainable Peace in Ilorin, Nigeria. African Sociological Review / Revue Africaine De Sociologie, 20(2), 40-60. Retrieved March 22, 2020, from

Cherry, K. (2019, November 26). What Are the 4 Perspectives on Personality? Retrieved from

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Han H., Pettee Gabriel K., Kohl H. W., III (2017). Application of the transtheoretical model to sedentary behaviors and its association with physical activity status. PLoS One 12:e0176330. 10.1371/journal.pone.0176330

Ministry of Children and Youth Services, Communications and Marketing Branch. (2016, May 6). Ministry of Children and Youth Services. Retrieved from

Osafo hounkpatin H, Wood AM, Boyce CJ, Dunn G. An Existential-Humanistic View of Personality Change: Co-Occurring Changes with Psychological Well-Being in a 10 Year Cohort Study. Soc Indic Res. 2015;121(2):455-470. doi:10.1007/s11205-014-0648-0

Rikza, N. (2016). Homicides and Suicide Are the Effect of the Embryonic Psychology of the Protagonist in Things Fall Apart. doi: 10.18411/d-2016-154

Sahni, B. K. (2016). Ministry of Children and Youth Services. Retrieved from

Sheats, K. J., Irving, S. M., Mercy, J. A., Simon, T. R., Crosby, A. E., Ford, D. C., … Morgan, R. E. (2018). Violence-Related Disparities Experienced by Black Youth and Young Adults: Opportunities for Prevention. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 55(4), 462–469. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2018.05.017

Wathen, N. (2013). Children’s exposure to intimate partner violence: Impacts and interventions. Paediatrics and Child Health. doi: 10.1093/pch/18.8.419

WHO. (2016, September 30). Youth violence. Retrieved from

Wickert, C. (2019, April 22). How social bonds affect deviance – Social bonds theory (Hirschi). Retrieved from

Witmer, D. (2019). Inadequate Data Limit the Analysis of Health Disparities and Causes: A Call for Research on Youth Interpersonal Violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 088626051986624. doi: 10.1177/0886260519866246

Youth Violence |Violence Prevention|Injury Center|CDC. (2020, March 2). Retrieved from

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