Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2016

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Marizen Ramirez


This dissertation focused on the topic of youth violence in two very different populations, young workers and youth offenders.

Youth violence at the home, in school and in the community has been well documented in the literature but very little is known about the prevalence of and risk factors for victimization at the workplace in young workers. In chapter two, a retrospective cohort study was conducted using National Crime Victimization Survey data from 2008–2012. We calculated a rate of workplace violence victimization and compared those rates between occupations and demographic characteristics in young workers 16–24 years. Multilevel, weighted Poisson regression models were used to compare rates of workplace victimization across occupations and demographic characteristics.

The rate of workplace violence victimization was 1.11 (95% CI: 0.95–1.27) incidents per 1,000 employed person-months. Young workers in retail sales occupations had a higher rate of workplace victimization than workers in health care occupations (RR = 0.52, 95% CI: 0.26–1.03) but a lower rate of workplace victimization than workers in protective service occupations (RR = 2.25, 95% CI: 1.34–3.77). Rates of workplace violence victimization differed significantly by age, income and workplace location.

In contrast, the prevalence of and risk factors for juvenile offender are well-known. However, there still exist major gaps in determining the effectiveness of tertiary interventions, justice-based processes (i.e. formal appearance in court vs. informal agreement or meeting with court officer) and placement (e.g. detention centers, foster care, mental health institutions). In chapters three and four, the effectiveness of justice-based processes and placement on recidivism in young offenders 12–16.5 years were evaluated using data received from the Iowa Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning Agency (CJJP) from 2010–2013. Multivariable logistic regression was used to impute risk level scores, to calculate propensity scores and to measure associations between demographic or complaint characteristics and main exposures. A sensitivity analysis was conducted by comparing the associations between process type and recidivism in a sample matched on propensity scores to the original unmatched sample. Cox Proportional Hazards models were used to compare time to recidivism by process type or placement in matched and unmatched samples.

In chapter three, out of 2,901 youth offenders, 41% recidivated over an 18-month period. Eighteen percent were formally processed while 82% received an informal agreement. Youth who received an informal agreement had a lower risk of reoffending at any time compared to youth who were formally processed in both the unmatched (HR = 0.93, 95% CI: 0.76–1.13) and matched sample (HR= 0.86, 95% CI: 0.65–1.14). These estimates were not statistically significant. We observed an offense-specific association between processing and recidivism. Property (HR = 0.74; 95% CI: 0.57–0.96) offenders who received an informal agreement were significantly less likely to recidivate compared to property offenders who were formally processed.

In chapter four, out of 1,469 youth offenders, 36% recidivated over an 18-month period. Nine percent received placement while 91% did not. Youth who received placement had up to an 87% higher risk of reoffending at any time compared to youth who did not receive placement in both unmatched (HR = 1.52, 95% CI: 1.11–2.08) and matched (HR= 1.87, 95% CI: 1.23–2.84) samples. We observed a charge-specific association between receiving placement and recidivism. Youth charged with a simple misdemeanor (HR = 2.74; 95% CI: 1.63–4.60) or other charges (HR = 6.60, 95% CI: 1.56–28.00) and received placement were significantly more likely to recidivate compared to those who did not receive placement.

These findings contribute to the youth violence literature in the following ways. Chapter two identified the occupations and target populations in need of policies and evidence-based interventions aimed at improving the working conditions for young workers. Chapter three and four supports the continual evaluation of the juvenile justice system to determine the best practices that may reduce violence and recidivism in young offenders.


Juvenile Justice System, Recidivism, Workplace Violence, Young Workers, Youth Offenders, Youth Violence


xv, 158 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 142-158).


Copyright © 2016 Maisha Nynell Toussaint