Rates of Student-Reported Antisocial Behavior, School Suspensions, and Arrests in Victoria, Australia and Washington State, United States Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Few methodologically rigorous international comparisons of student-reported antisocial behavior have been conducted. This paper examines whether there are differences in the frequency of both antisocial behavior and societal responses to antisocial behavior in Victoria, Australia and Washington State, United States. These 2 states were chosen due to their similarities on sociodemographic characteristics and their differences in policy frameworks around problem behavior including antisocial behavior and substance use. METHODS: State representative samples of students (N = 5769) in school grades 5, 7, and 9 in Victoria and Washington State completed a modified version of the Communities That Care self-report survey of behavior and societal responses to behavior. Chi-square analyses compared frequencies of antisocial behavior, school suspensions, and police arrests in the 2 states. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted for each outcome measure to examine the effect of state, controlling for sample design, clustering of students within schools, age, socioeconomic status, and urbanicity. RESULTS: Few state differences in student-reported antisocial behavior were found, although frequencies varied across behavior type and grade level. Differences in societal responses were observed across grade levels with grade 5 Washington students reporting higher rates of school suspension. Older Washington students reported more arrests. CONCLUSIONS: Rates of student antisocial behavior appear similar in these 2 states in Australia and the United States. However, youth in the United States relative to Australia may experience greater societal consequences for problem behavior. Further research is required to examine the impact of these consequences on subsequent behavior.


  • Hemphill, Sheryl A
  • McMorris, Barbara J
  • Toumbourou, John W
  • Herrenkohl, Todd I
  • Catalano, Richard F
  • Mathers, Megan

publication date

  • August 2007