U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Profiles of Risk and Promotive Factors Associated With Aggression and Other Problem Behaviors Among Middle School Students in an Urban School System

NCJ Number
Journal of Early Adolescence Dated: May 2024 Pages: 1-32
Date Published
May 2024
32 pages

This document reports on a study that identified risk and promotive factors that tended to operate together across multiple social-ecological domains, and their relationship with adolescents’ problem behaviors, victimization, and distress symptoms; it describes the study’s population sample, methodology, and findings.


This study’s goal was to identify patterns of risk and promotive factors across multiple social-ecological domains and their associations with adolescents’ problem behaviors (aggression, substance use, and other delinquent behaviors), victimization, and distress symptoms. Participants were a mostly African American (79%) sample of 2711 middle school students (Mage = 12.7; 52% female) in urban neighborhoods who completed measures of 13 risk and promotive factors and adjustment. Ratings were also obtained from teachers. Latent profile analysis identified four subgroups: high risk/low promotive (10% of the sample), moderate risk/low promotive (36%), low risk/low promotive (15%), and low risk/high promotive (38%). Subgroups varied in student- and teacher-reported aggression, problem behaviors, victimization, and distress. The findings indicated that risk and promotive factors tend to operate together and in distinct patterns rather than in isolation. This suggests researchers move beyond variable-centered analyses of limited sets of risk and protective factors. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: May 1, 2024