Research Initiatives

My research program centers on inquiry into the development and management of aggressive behavior, especially in very high risk environments, and with an emphasis on the use of "real world" data in naturalistic settings. For example, for many years I have been interested in how highly aggressive youth such as psychiatric inpatients (Boxer, 2007) or gang members (Boxer, 2011; Boxer et al., 2015, 2017) respond to evidence based assessment and intervention strategies. Feel free to check out my recent blog on this issue at the website of the International Society for Research on Aggression: I am also currently studying the effects of persistent ethnic-political (Boxer et al., 2013) and neighborhood (Boxer et al., 2014) violence on youth development.  I approach the study of aggressive behavior from a broad developmental-ecological and developmental psychopathology framework, and at this time my program of research is organized around three critical questions: First, what are the specific configurations of risk exposure most robustly tied to aggression and related problem outcomes? Second, how well do our conceptual and theoretical models of normal human development apply to very atypical, high risk populations? And finally, how can social-developmental science inform efforts to ameliorate the problems associated with aggressive behavior? 


Boxer, P. (2007). Aggression in very high-risk youth: Examining developmental risk in an inpatient psychiatric population. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 77, 636-646.

Boxer, P. (2011). Negative peer involvement in Multisystemic Therapy for the treatment of youth problem behavior: Exploring outcome and process variables in "real-world" practice. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 40, 848-854. 

Boxer, P., Huesmann, L.R., Dubow, E.F., Landau, S., Gvirsman, S.D., Shikaki, K., & Ginges, J. (2013). Exposure to violence across the social ecosystem and the development of aggression: A test of ecological theory in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Child Development, 84, 163-177.

Boxer, P., Sloan-Power, E., Schappell, A., & Piza, E. (2014). Using police data to measure children's exposure to neighborhood violence:  A new method for evaluating relations between exposure and mental health. Violence and Victims, 29, 24-33.

Boxer, P., Kubik, J., Ostermann, M., & Veysey, B. (2015). Gang involvement moderates the effectiveness of evidence-based intervention for justice-involved youth. Children and Youth Services Review, 52, 26-33.

Boxer, P., Docherty, M., Ostermann, M., Kubik, J., & Veysey, B. (2017). Effectiveness of Multisystemic Therapy for gang-involved youth offenders: One year follow-up analysis of recidivism outcomes. Children and Youth Services Review, 73, 107-112.