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Critique of risk factor research


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Critique of risk factor research
Two UK academics, Stephen Case and Kevin Haines, among others, criticized risk factor research in their academic papers and a comprehensive polemic text, Understanding Youth Offending: Risk Factor Research, Policy and Practice.

The robustness and validity of much risk factor research is criticized for:

Determinism, e.g., characterising young people as passive victims of risk experiences with no ability to construct, negotiate or resist risk.

Imputation, e.g., assuming that risk factors and definitions of offending are homogenous across countries and cultures, assuming that statistical correlations between risk factors and offending actually represent causal relationships, and assuming that risk factors apply to individuals on the basis of aggregated data.

Reductionism, e.g., over-simplfying complex experiences and circumstances by converting them to simple quantities, relying on a psychosocial focus while neglecting potential socio-structural and political influences.

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