Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health

Log in or Register to get access to full text downloads.

Remember me or Register


Youth violence: A review of risk factors, causal pathways and effective intervention

Amelia van der Merwe, Andrew Dawes


This paper presents a review of theoretical and empirical research on risk factors for: 1) the development of violent and other antisocial behaviour; 2) international interventions targeting antisocial, including violent youths; and 3) outcome evaluations and meta-analyses of interventions targeting antisocial, including violent youths. Taken together, the international literature indicates that interventions which effectively reduce violent and other antisocial behaviours are informed by a number of generic principles which should guide the development and implementation of South African violence prevention programmes. Common characteristics of interventions which effectively reduce youth violence are presented, with the aim of informing the design and delivery of local interventions. In light of the alarmingly high levels of violence in South Africa, there is an urgent need to develop intensive, multi-modal, evidence-based, structured, cognitive-behavioural programmes for violent adolescents and young adults. Furthermore, it is imperative that efforts are directed at developing a reliable local evidence base of ‘what works\' for young offenders generally, and violent young offenders specifically.

Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health 2007, 19(2): 95–113
AJOL African Journals Online