Testing an Idealized Dynamic Cascade Model of the Development of Serious Violence in Adolescence


  • 4

    Members of the Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group are, in alphabetical order, Karen L. Bierman, PhD, Department of Psychology, Pennsylvania State University; John D. Coie, PhD, Department of Psychology, Duke University; Kenneth A. Dodge, PhD, Center for Child and Family Policy, Duke University; Mark T. Greenberg, PhD, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Pennsylvania State University; John E. Lochman, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Alabama; Robert J. McMahon, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Washington; and Ellen E. Pinderhughes, PhD, Department of Child Development, Tufts University. This work was supported by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Grants R18 MH48043, R18 MH50951, R18 MH50952, and R18 MH50953. The Center for Substance Abuse Prevention and the National Institute on Drug Abuse also provided support for Fast Track through a memorandum of agreement with NIMH. This work was also supported by U.S. Department of Education Grant S184U30002 and NIMH Grants K05MH00797 and K05MH01027. Although these funding agencies approved the initial design of the study, they had no role in approving the analysis and interpretation of the data or in preparation and review of the manuscript. We are grateful for the close collaboration of the Durham Public Schools, the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, the Bellefonte Area Schools, the Tyrone Area Schools, the Mifflin County Schools, the Highline Public Schools, and the Seattle Public Schools. We appreciate the dedication of hundreds of staff members who implemented the project, collected the evaluation data, and assisted with data management. Requests for reprints should be addressed to Seattle Fast Track, 146 North Canal Street, Suite 111, Seattle, WA 98103. For additional information concerning Fast Track, see http://www.fasttrackproject.org.

concerning this article should be addressed to Kenneth A. Dodge, Center for Child and Family Policy, Box 90545, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708. Electronic mail may be sent to dodge@duke.edu.


A dynamic cascade model of development of serious adolescent violence was proposed and tested through prospective inquiry with 754 children (50% male; 43% African American) from 27 schools at 4 geographic sites followed annually from kindergarten through Grade 11 (ages 5–18). Self, parent, teacher, peer, observer, and administrative reports provided data. Partial least squares analyses revealed a cascade of prediction and mediation: An early social context of disadvantage predicts harsh–inconsistent parenting, which predicts social and cognitive deficits, which predicts conduct problem behavior, which predicts elementary school social and academic failure, which predicts parental withdrawal from supervision and monitoring, which predicts deviant peer associations, which ultimately predicts adolescent violence. Findings suggest targets for in-depth inquiry and preventive intervention.