The Role of Life Satisfaction in Predicting Youth Violence and Offending: A Prospective Examination

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Graduate student (Masters)
Final version published as: 

Hanniball, K. B., Viljoen, J. L., Shaffer, C. S., Bhatt, G., Tweed, R., Aknin, L. B., Gagnon, N., Douglas, K. S., & Dooley, S. (0). The Role of Life Satisfaction in Predicting Youth Violence and Offending: A Prospective Examination. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 0(0), 0886260518805103.

Date created: 
DOI: 10.1177/0886260518805103
Youth offending
Life satisfaction
Protective factors

Life satisfaction in adolescence has been shown to protect against numerous negative outcomes (e.g., substance use, sexual risk-taking), but limited work has directly explored the relationship between life satisfaction and youth violence and offending. As such, we conducted a prospective assessment to explore this relationship among community (n = 334) and at-risk youth (n = 99). Findings suggest life satisfaction is significantly associated with decreased offending and violence within both samples and adds incremental value above established risk factors in predicting violent and total offending among community youth. Furthermore, moderation analyses indicate that the protective value of life satisfaction is greater for youth with high callous–unemotional traits. Mediation analyses suggest that youth who are unsatisfied with their lives may seek out substance use, in turn elevating risk of offending. Together, these findings indicate that efforts to improve overall life satisfaction may help prevent adolescent offending. However, future research is needed.

Document type: 
Rights remain with the authors.
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)