Professor, University of California, Riverside
Ed.D. Harvard University, 1986
My professional research interests and practice experience have focused on youth development and violence prevention. I am particularly interested in social-cognitive predictors of children's aggression, violence, and delinquency, including information processing skills and normative beliefs. My research has involved longitudinal studies of risk for aggression and violence as well as preventive intervention studies designed to change children's cognitions and behavior. I was the principal investigator for the Metropolitan Area Child Study, an 8-year development and prevention study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. This study evaluated the impact of a comprehensive social-cognitive intervention involving children, teachers, and families on the prevention of aggression and violence in inner city and urban communities.
Since 2000, I have been the principal investigator for an Academic Center of Excellence on Youth Violence Prevention funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This center is a consortium of scholars working on several studies related to youth violence. Our recent research includes a large evaluation of bullying prevention programs, an effectiveness trial of the Families and Schools Together (FAST) intervention with Latino children and families, a randomized controlled trial of a new home visitation program for families of elementary and middle school children, Child Development Parent Training (CDPT), and an efficacy trial of Positive Life Changes, a 30-session cognitive-behavioral program for adolescents in high schools and correctional facilities. Our center also addresses issues of ethnicity and culture and how they relate to prediction and prevention of aggression and violence. Along with center collaborators, I edited two related books, Preventing Youth Violence in a Multicultural Society (APA books), and Treating the Juvenile Offender (Guilford Press). The website for this center is stopyouthviolence.ucr.edu.
I have served on several national expert panels and study groups, such as the President's Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's study group on serious and violent juvenile offenders. I also am involved in a number of international research projects on youth development and violence prevention funded by The World Bank and The Interamerican Development Bank in countries including Jamaica, Trinidad, El Salvador, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and South Africa. I recently served as Associate Editor for Child Development (2007-2010) and currently am the Editor for the Journal of Research on Adolescence (2010-2015). I also am a faculty fellow at the UCR Presley Center for Crime and Justice Studies.
Current Research Projects
- A randomized controlled trial of Positive Life Changes cognitive-behavioral intervention with adolescents in alternative high schools (ongoing). Funded by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- A randomized controlled trial of Positive Life Changes cognitive-behavioral intervention with Latino and recent immigrant youth in community settings (ongoing). Funded by California Proposition 63 funds to Latino Health Access.
- A quasi-experimental evaluation of Families and Schools Together (FAST) family intervention with Latino and recent immigrant families in Santa Ana, CA. Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- A randomized controlled trial of Child Development Parent Training home visitation program for Latino and recent immigrant families in Santa Ana, CA. Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Design and validation of the Evidence-based Rating System (EBARS) to evaluate delinquency and violence prevention projects for consistency with evidence-based practices. In preparation, collaboration with The Presley Center for Crime and Justice Studies, and The State of California Governor's Office of Youth Crime and Gang Prevention.
- Development and validation of a measure of propensity for aggression: A cross-site study. Funded by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Current International Projects
- Investing in Youth Violence Prevention and Protecting Human Rights in Mexico: A Blueprint for Action. Funded by The World Bank.
- Testing a Conceptual Framework for Non-Cognitive Skill Development in Adolescence: Implications for Policy and Practice in Latin America. Funded by The World Bank.
Recently Completed Research Projects
- Evaluation of a statewide bullying prevention project in Colorado. Funded by The Colorado Trust.
- Agency dissemination survey: Utilization of evidence-based practices for youth violence prevention (in collaboration with The Human Interaction Research Institute). Funded by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Social-cognitive mediators of the effects of community violence exposure on aggression in urban children. Funded by The National Institute of Child Health and Development.
Recently Completed International Projects
- Building an Ecology of Peace in Urban Jamaica: Evaluation of second-chance and community-based violence prevention programs in Jamaica. Funded by The World Bank.
Selected Publications (click here for complete list)
- Guerra, N. G. (in press). Poverty as a context for child development: Effects on youth crime and violence. In R. Rosenfeld (Ed). Socio-economic correlates of crime and violence. Cambridge.
- Boxer, P., Huesmann, L. R., Hanish, L. D., & Guerra, N. G. (in press). Sociometric popularity in school-based aggression prevention: Getting cool by getting tough. Journal of Child Clinical Psychology.
- Guerra, N. G., Graham, S., & Tolan, P. H. (in press). Raising healthy children: Translating research into practice. Special Issue of Child Development on Raising Healthy Children, Jan/Feb 2011.
- Guerra, N. G., Williams, K. R., & Sadek, S. (in press). Bullying and victimization from childhood to adolescence: Developmental changes and implications for prevention. Special Issue of Child Development on Raising Healthy Children, Jan/Feb 2011.
- Williams, K. R., & Guerra, N. G. (in press). Collective efficacy and school bullying over time and across settings. Social Problems.
- Astor, R., Van Acker, R., & Guerra, N. G. (2010). How can we improve school safety research? Special issue, Educational Researcher, 39, 69-78.
- Cook, C., Williams, K. R., Guerra, N. G., Kim, T., & Sadek, S. (2010). Predictors of childhood bullying and victimization: A meta-analytic review. School Psychology Quarterly, 25, 65-83.
- Leidy, M., Guerra, N., G., & Toro, R. (2010). The impact of positive parenting and family cohesion on social competence among children of immigrant Latino parents: A mixed methods study. Journal of Family Psychology, 24, 252-260.
- Metropolitan Area Child Study (MACS) (2007). Changing the way children "think" about aggression: social-cognitive effects of a preventive intervention for early elementary school urban children. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.
- Morales, J., & Guerra, N. G. (2006). Effects of multiple context and cumulative stress on urban children's adjustment in elementary school. Child Development, 77, 907-923.
- Boxer, P., Guerra, N. G., Huesmann, L. R., & Morales, J. (2005). Proximal effects of a small-group selected prevention program on aggression in elementary school children: An investigation of the peer contagion hypothesis. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 325-338.
- Guerra, N. G., & Phillips Smith, E. (Eds.) (2005). Preventing youth violence in a multicultural society. Washington, DC: APA Books.
- Guerra, N. G., & Huesmann, L. R. (2004) A cognitive-ecological model of aggression. Revue Internationale de Psychologie Sociale, 17, 177-203.
- Guerra, N. G., Huesmann, L. R., & Spindler, A. (2003). Community violence exposure, social cognition, and aggression among urban elementary-school children. Child Development, 74, 1507-1522.
- Metropolitan Area Child Study (2002). A cognitive-ecological approach to preventing aggression in urban settings: Initial outcomes for high-risk children. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 70, 179-194.
- Hanish, L. D., & Guerra, N. G., (2004). Aggressive victims, passive victims, and bullies: Developmental continuity or developmental change. Merrill Palmer Quarterly, 50, 17-38.
- Huesmann, L. R., & Guerra, N. G. (1997). Social norms and children's aggressive behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 408-419.