Does school suspension affect subsequent youth non-violent antisocial behaviour? A longitudinal study of students in Victoria, Australia and Washington State, United States

Authors

  • Sheryl A. Hemphill,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Psychology, Australian Catholic University, Fitzroy, Australia
    2. Centre for Adolescent Health, Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia
    • Correspondence: Sheryl A. Hemphill, PhD, School of Psychology, Australian Catholic University, 115 Victoria Parade, Fitzroy, Vic. 3065, Australia. Email: sheryl.hemphill@acu.edu.au

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  • Aneta Kotevski,

    1. School of Psychology, Australian Catholic University, Fitzroy, Australia
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  • Todd I. Herrenkohl,

    1. Social Development Research Group, School of Social Work, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
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  • Rachel Smith,

    1. Centre for Adolescent Health, Royal Children's Hospital, The University of Melbourne's Department of Paediatrics, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Parkville, Australia
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  • John W. Toumbourou,

    1. Centre for Adolescent Health, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Parkville, Australia
    2. School of Psychology and Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing Research, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
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  • Richard F. Catalano

    1. Social Development Research Group, School of Social Work, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
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Abstract

School suspension has been not only associated with negative behaviours but also is predictive of future poor outcomes. The current study investigates (1) whether school suspension is a unique predictor of youth non-violent antisocial behaviour (NVAB) relative to other established predictors, and (2) whether the predictors of NVAB are similar in Australia and the United States (USA). The data analysed here draw on two statewide representative samples of Grade 7 and 9 students in Victoria, Australia and Washington State, USA, resurveyed at 12-month follow-up (N = 3,677, 99% retention). School suspension did not uniquely predict NVAB in the final model. The predictors of NVAB, similar across states, included previous student NVAB, current alcohol and tobacco use, poor family management, association with antisocial friends, and low commitment to school. An implication of the findings is that US evidence-based prevention programmes targeting the influences investigated here could be trialled in Australia.

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