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Youth violence and interventions: Insights from a complex agent network model
Youth violence
Complex agent network model
Intervention analysis
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Cheong, S. A., Sun, K., Leaw, J. N., Ang, R. P., Huan, V. S., Chan, W. T., & Li, X. (2017). Youth violence and interventions: Insights from a complex agent network model.Reports in Advances of Physical Sciences, 1(1): 1740006.
Youth violence is a growing concern in Singapore. To address this complex social issue, we surveyed the psychology, social science, and criminology literature to identify a total of 11 intrinsic (familial, individual, school) and 2 extrinsic (peer) factors linked to youth violence, and also their interdependencies. We then developed a complex agent network model where each complex agent is represented by a complex factor network of the 13 factors along with youth violence, coupled to each other through the extrinsic factors to form a complex social network. We simulated the model using as initial conditions the results from a large-scale school-based survey of the factors and random social ties. We find factors in each complex agent evolving with time under the influences from other factors, and the social ties between agents evolving with
time as a result of behavioral imitation between agents. We ran a sensitivity analysis on the model, to find that the model is most sensitive to the parameters linking (1) non-intact family, (2) delinquency in general, (3) school disengagement, (4) peer delinquency, and (5) friends in gang to gang involvement. We also ran a series of intervention scenario simulations, and our results show that it is critical to intervene early, and successful interventions work by tipping the balance between competing intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Mental health professionals and school counsellors can then apply this unique insight from the model to design more effective interventions.
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