Recent research findings on aggressive and violent behavior in youth: Implications for clinical assessment and intervention

Nancy Rappaport, Christopher Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Assessing children and adolescents for potential violent behavior requires an organized approach that draws on clinical knowledge, a thorough diagnostic interview, and familiarity with relevant risk and protective factors. This article reviews empirical evidence on risk factors, the impact of peers, developmental pathways, physiological markers, subtyping of aggression, and differences in patterns of risk behaviors between sexes. We explore these determinants of violence in children and adolescents with attention to the underlying motivations and etiology of violence to delineate the complexity, unanswered questions, and clinical relevance of the current research. Interventions, including cognitive behavioral therapy, psychopharmacological treatment, and psychosocial treatment, are reviewed with acute recognition of the need to use multiple modalities with, and to expand research to define optimal treatment for, potentially violent children and adolescents. The information considered for this review focuses on violence as defined as physical aggression toward other individuals. Other studies are included with wider definitions of violence because of their relevance to assessing the potential for violent behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-277
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2004


  • Adolescents
  • Children
  • Conduct disorder
  • Gender differences
  • Risk factors
  • Subtypes of aggression
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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