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Aggress Behav. 2009 Mar-Apr;35(2):188-202. doi: 10.1002/ab.20293.

Cross-sectional study of violence in emerging adulthood.

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Department of Human Development, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA.


Theories of emerging adulthood, the evolutionary perspective, and the presence of turning points in the lives of 19-25-year olds were examined in relation to serious perpetrated violence for a cross-sectional sample of men and women (n=14,098) from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), Wave III. Perpetrated, self-reported violence included armed robbery, gang fighting, using a weapon in a fight, pulling a knife or gun on someone, or shooting or stabbing someone. Results showed that 11.3% of emergent adults had perpetrated at least one of these behaviors in the past year. Hierarchical logistic regression analysis partially supported the three theories for both men and women, beyond the contribution of violence in adolescence. The presence of Wave III violence was more likely given the unique contributions of unmarried status and economic risk. Moreover, and consistent with the theory of emerging adulthood, both sensation seeking and depression declined with age and contributed to the acknowledgement of Wave III violence, beyond the contribution of controls for Wave I violence (6 years earlier), demographics, age, gender, unmarried status, and economic risk. Findings of age-related declines and gender differences in prevalence rates were consistent with previous research on nationally representative samples, and with the predictions of the three theories.

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