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Professor Manuel Eisner

Professor Manuel Eisner

Wolfson Professor of Criminology

Director of Violence Research Centre

Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 335374


I studied history at the University of Zurich and hold a PhD in sociology. I have published several authored or edited books and over 100 journal articles and book chapters in English, German, Spanish and French. My academic work revolves around the explanation of the causes, the consequences and the prevention of interpersonal violence across human societies. My research tries to contribute to the following questions: How can we describe and explain variation in levels of violence between societies and over the course of human history? What psychological and social mechanisms account for change and stability of violent behaviour over the life course? What combination of prevention, intervention and control is best suited to reduce interpersonal violence in different societies across the world? You can visit this page to find out more about my research projects.

I am a member of several editorial and advisory boards of academic journals and book series. I have also been working as an expert or co-author of reports with national governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank and UNODC. I was awarded the Fellowship of the Society of Experimental Criminology and the Sellin-Glueck award by the American Society of Criminology. In 2014, I have organised, with the World Health Organization, the First Global Conference on Violence Reduction at the University of Cambridge. I was awarded the 2017 ESC European Criminology Award for my lifetime contribution to European criminology.

Videos and webinars

Research Interests

Macro-level Comparative Violence Research

My macro-level research on interpersonal violence comprises, amongst others, an innovative study on levels of homicide across Europe over a period of over 800 years (see, e.g. "Long-Term Historical Trends in Violent Crime", Crime and Justice: A Review of Research, Vol. 30). This study has become a landmark in our knowledge on historical patterns of interpersonal violence. More particularly, I was first to conclusively demonstrate a long-term pattern of declining homicide across Europe and to empirically show geographic variations in these patterns. This research has had a profound impact on how sociologists and criminologists think about long-term trends in interpersonal violence and their relationship to the evolution of modern society. A recent study (From Swords to Words, 2014, Crime and Justice - A Review of Research) has put several hypotheses about the causes of the decline to more formal empirical tests. Studies with Prof Nivette (University of Utrecht) have examined the extent to which the legitimacy of the state is associated, at the macro level, with cross-national variation in homicide rates. This research is part of a larger research programme on the political and social determinants of cooperation and conflict in complex societies. 

Developmental Research on the Causes of Aggression

I also work on researching the developmental causes of aggressive behaviour, crime and delinquency. I am one of the principal investigators (with Dr Denis Ribaud, University of Zurich) of the Zurich Project on the Social Development of Children, z-proso, which is hosted by the Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development, University of Zurich. Z-proso is a longitudinal study that examines the social development of 1675 children who entered primary school in the City of Zurich in 2004. The study currently comprises seven main data collections at ages 7, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17 and early 20s. Its focus is on the dynamics of aggressive behaviour, violent victimisation, and attitudes and perceptions related to violence and aggression. The study population is highly ethnically mixed with over 65% of participants coming from families with a migration background.

The study pursues several research strands: Recent work with Dr Murray (Journal of Child Psychology, 2016) has examined, for example, the comorbidity of aggressive behavior with other manifestations of psychopathology such as ADHD and depressive symptoms over the life course. Z-proso also specifically focuses on the dynamics of legal socialisation during adolescence. Thus, work with Nivette, Ribeaud and Malti examined the developmental processes leading to legal cynicism as an important mechanism that facilitates violence and delinquency (a sense that one can take the law into one's own hands) during adolescence (Crime and Delinquency, 2015). Another research direction examines the mechanisms and events that affect change and stability in aggressive behaviour over time. Our research with Averdijk, van Gelder and Ribeaud (Violence begets Violence, but how? Criminology, 2016, Vol 54:2), for example, has examined how change in decision-making processes due to victimisation may account for the relationship between victimisation and offending over time. Similarly, work led by Dr Obsuth and published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence (2016, with Murray, Malti, Sulger and Ribeaud) showed the strong influence of a supportive teacher-child relationship on subsequent declines in problem behaviour including aggression.

 Research on Violence Prevention

My academic work on violence prevention comprises primary experimental studies, meta-analyses that synthesise current knowledge in a given area, and work on policy factors that influence population-level reductions in interpersonal violence. Two universal prevention programmes were implemented as part of the z-proso study, and effects were assessed for up to seven years after the intervention. In the London Education and Inclusion Project (LEIP, 2013-2015) we evaluated an intervention aimed at promoting the social and communication skills of adolescents at a high risk of school exclusion. A meta-analysis (with Sara Valdebenito, Dr Maria Ttofi, Dr Alex Sutherland and Prof David Farrington) conducted for the Campbell collaboration examined the state of knowledge about interventions that can reduce school exclusions. A recent study, finally, in the Journal of Public Health Policy examines, at a cross-national level, what can be learned from international crime drop in recent time for the programming of prevention strategies at the national level.

The Evidence for Better Lives Study (EBLS) examines exposure to violence and other adverse experiences while also striving to illuminate how families in different cultures raise and support their children. In each site, the study will be accompanied by efforts to introduce and evaluate multi-sectoral prevention packages that can help young children to achieve their full developmental and learning potential.



Ph.D. Students

Students who consider applying for a PhD under my supervision should contact me by email with a short summary of their research proposal before submitting an application. I mainly supervise doctoral theses that use a quantitative approach in the following areas:

  • History of violence research
  • Causes of aggression and violence
  • Prevention and intervention research
  • International research on micro and macro-level predictors of violence.

There may be possibilities to conduct a PhD related to one of my on-going research projects. Please contact me for further information.

Key Publications

  • Brown, Ruth & Eisner, Manuel & Valdebenito, Sara & Walker, Susan & Tomlinson, Mark & Hughes, Claire & Ward, Catherine & Osafo, Joseph & Sikander, Siham & Fearon, Pasco & Dunne, Michael & Madrid, Bernadette & Baban, Adriana & Vo Van, Thang & Fernando, Asvini & Murray, Aja. (2020). What research questions should the next generation of birth cohort studies address? An international Delphi study of experts. Academic Pediatrics. 10.1016/j.acap.2020.03.011.

  • Van Gelder, Jean-Louis & Averdijk, Margit & Ribeaud, Denis & Eisner, Manuel. (2020). Sanctions, short‐term mindsets, and delinquency: Reverse causality in a sample of high school youth. Legal and Criminological Psychology. 10.1111/lcrp.12170.
  • Murray, Aja & Caye, Arthur & Mckenzie, Karen & Auyeung, Bonnie & Murray, George & Ribeaud, Denis & Freeston, Mark & Eisner, Manuel. (2020). Reciprocal Developmental Relations Between ADHD and Anxiety in Adolescence: A Within-Person Longitudinal Analysis of Commonly Co-Occurring Symptoms. Journal of Attention Disorders. 108705472090833. 10.1177/1087054720908333.
  • Neaverson, Aimee & Murray, Aja & Ribeaud, Denis & Eisner, Manuel. (2020). A Longitudinal Examination of the Role of Self-Control in the Relation between Corporal Punishment Exposure and Adolescent Aggression. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 10.1007/s10964-020-01215-z
  • Sorrenti, Giuseppe & Zölitz, Ulf & Ribeaud, Denis & Eisner, Manuel. (2020). The Causal Impact of Socio-Emotional Skills Training on Educational Success. SSRN Electronic Journal. 10.2139/ssrn.3553837.
  • Murray, Aja & Eisner, Manuel & Nagin, Daniel & Ribeaud, Denis. (2020). A multi-trajectory analysis of commonly co-occurring mental health issues across childhood and adolescence. 10.31234/
  • Murray, Aja & Eisner, Manuel & Ribeaud, Denis & Booth, Tom. (2019). Validation of a brief measure of aggression for experience sampling research: The Aggression-ES-A. 10.31234/
  • Degli Esposti, M.; Humphreys, D. K.; Jenkins, B. M.; Antonio Gasparrini, A.; Pooley, S.; Eisner, M.; Bowes, L. (2019) Long-term trends in child maltreatment in England and Wales, 1858–2016: an observational, time-series analysis. The Lancet Public Health.
  • Valdebenito, S.; Eisner, M.; Farrington, D.P.; Ttofi, M.M.; Sutherland, A. (2019) What can we do to reduce disciplinary school exclusion? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Experimental Criminology.
  • Shenderovich, Y.; Eisner, P.; Cluver, L.; Doubt, J.; Berezin, M.; Majokweni, S.; Murray A.L. (2019) Delivering a parenting programme in South Africa: The impact of implementation on outcomes, Journal of Child and Family Studies.
  • Averdijk, M.; Eisner, M.; Ribeaud, D.; Zölitz, U. (2019). Problemverhalten an Schulen, Frühförderung und Bildungserfolg. Broschüre anlässlich des Jacobs Center Symposiums 2019. Zürich: Jacobs Center, Universität Zürich.
  • Averdijk, M.; Ribeaud, D.; Eisner, M. (2019). Childhood predictors of violent victimization at age 17: The role of early social behavioral tendencies. The Journal of Pediatrics, 208 (May 2019), 183–190.
  • Averdijk, M., Ribeaud, D., & Eisner, M. (2019). Externe Kinderbetreuung und Entwicklung bis ins Erwachsenenalter in der Schweiz. Langfristige Zusammenhänge mit Sozialverhalten und Bildung bis zum 20. Lebensjahr. Zürich: Universität Zürich, Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development.
  • Averdijk, M.; Ribeaud, D.; Eisner, M. (2019). Longitudinal predictors of selling and buying sexual services among youths in Switzerland. Archives of Sexual Behavior, advance online publication.
  •  Eisner, N.; Murray, A.; Eisner, M.; Ribeaud, D. (2019). A practical guide to the analysis of non-response and attrition in longitudinal research using a real data example. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 43(1), 24–34.
  • Huijsmans, T.; Nivette, A.; Eisner, M.; Ribeaud, D. (2019). Social influences, peer delinquency, and low self-control: An examination of time-varying and reciprocal effects on delinquency over adolescence. European Journal of Criminology, advance online publication.
  • Krisch, M., Averdijk, M., Eisner, M., & Valdebenito, S. (2019). Sex trade among youth: A global review of the prevalence, contexts and correlates of transactional sex among the general population of youth. Adolescent Research Review, 4(2), 115-134.
  • Murray, A.; Booth, T.; Eisner, M.; Auyeung, B.; Murray G.; Ribeaud, D. (2019). Sex differences in ADHD trajectories across childhood and adolescence. Developmental Science, 22(1), e12721.
  • Murray, A.; Booth, T.; Eisner, M.; Obsuth, I.; Ribeaud, D. (2019). Quantifying the strength of general factors in psychopathology: A comparison of CFA with maximum likelihood estimation, BSEM and ESEM/EFA bi-factor approaches. Journal of Personality Assessment, 100(6), 631-643.
  • Murray, A.; Booth, T.; Eisner, M.; Ribeaud, D., McKenzie, K.; Murray, G. (2019). An analysis of response shifts in teacher reports associated with the use of a universal school-based intervention to reduce externalising behaviour. Prevention Science, 20, 1265-1273.
  • Murray, A.; Eisner, M.; Obsuth, I.; Ribeaud, D. (2019). Evaluating longitudinal invariance in dimensions of mental health across adolescence: An analysis of the Social Behavior Questionnaire. Assessment, 26(7), 1234 –1245.
  • Murray, A.; Eisner, M.; Ribeaud, D. (2019). Can the Social Behavior Questionnaire help meet the need for dimensional, transdiagnostic measures of childhood and adolescent psychopathology? European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 35(5), 674-679.
  • Murray, A.; Eisner, M.; Ribeaud, D. (2019). Within-person analysis of developmental cascades between externalising and internalising problems. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, advance online publication.
  • Murray, A.; Eisner, M.; Ribeaud, D.; Kaiser, D.; McKenzie, K.; Murray, G. (2019). Validation of a brief self-report measure of adolescent bullying perpetration and victimization: The Zurich Brief Bullying Scales (ZBBS). Assessment, advance online publication.
  • Murray, A.; Obsuth, I.; Eisner, M.; Ribeaud, D. (2019). Disaggregating between and within-classroom variation in student behaviour: A multi-level factor analysis of teacher ratings of student prosociality and aggression. Journal of Early Adolescence, 39(7), 993-1019.
  • Murray, A. L.; Ribeaud, D.; Eisner, M.; Murray, G.; McKenzie, K. (2019). Should we subtype ADHD according to the context in which symptoms occur? Criterion validity of recognising context-based ADHD presentations. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 50(2), 308–320.
  • Nivette, A.; Eisner, M.; Ribeaud, D. (2019). Evaluating the shared and unique predictors of legal cynicism and police legitimacy from adolescence into early adulthood. Criminology, advance online publication.
  • Obsuth, I.; Murray, A. L.; Di Folco, S.; Ribeaud, D.; Eisner, M. (2019). Patterns of homotypic and heterotypic continuity between ADHD, externalising and internalising problems from age 7 to 15. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, advance online publication.
  • Murray, J., Shenderovich, Y., Gardner, F., Mikton, C., Derzon, J. H., Liu, J., & Eisner, M. (2018). Risk Factors for Antisocial Behavior in Low-and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review of Longitudinal Studies. Crime and Justice, 47(1), 000-000.
  • McKenzie, K., Murray, A., Murray, G., Maguire, A., Eisner, M., & Ribeaud, D. (2018). Validation of the English language version of the Violent Ideations Scale (VIS). Journal of Interpersonal Violence.
  • Valdebenito, S., Eisner, M., Farrington, D. P., Ttofi, M. M., Sutherland, A., & Valdebenito, S. (2018). School-based interventions for reducing disciplinary school exclusion: a systematic review. Campbell Systematic Reviews, 1.
  • Averdijk, M., Ribeaud, D., & Eisner, M. (2018). The long-term effects of out-of-home placement in late adolescence: A propensity score matching analysis among Swiss youths. Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, 9(1), 30-57.
  • Kanis, S., Messner, S. F., Eisner, M. P., & Heitmeyer, W. (2017). A cautionary note about the use of estimated homicide data for cross-national research. Homicide Studies, 1088767917715670. 
  • van Gelder, J. L., Averdijk, M., Ribeaud, D., & Eisner, M. (2017). Punitive parenting and delinquency: The mediating role of short-term mindsets. The British Journal of Criminology. (online first).
  • Murray, A.L., Eisner, M., Obsuth, I., & Ribeaud, D. (2017). Situating violent ideations within the landscape of mental health: Associations between violent ideations and dimensions of mental health. Psychiatry Research, 249, 70 -77.
  • Murray, A.L., Eisner, M., Obsuth, I., & Ribeaud, D. (2017). No evidence that substance use causes ADHD symptoms in adolescence. Journal of Drug Issues, 47(3), 405–410.
  • Murray, A.L., Eisner, M., Obsuth, I. & Ribeaud, D. (2017). Identifying early markers of “Late Onset” Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity/Impulsivity Symptoms. Journal of Attention Disorders, 1-11.
  • Murray, A. L., Obsuth, I., Eisner, M., & Ribeaud, D. (2017). Evaluating longitudinal invariance in dimensions of mental health across adolescence: An analysis of the Social Behavior Questionnaire. Assessment, 1073191117721741.
  • Nivette A., Eisner, M., & Ribeaud, D. (2017). Developmental predictors of violent extremist attitudes: A test of general strain theory.  Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 1-36.
  • Obsuth, I., Sutherland, A., Cope, A., Pilbeam, L., Murray, A. L., & Eisner, M. (2017). London Education and Inclusion Project (LEIP): Results from a Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial of an Intervention to Reduce School Exclusion and Antisocial Behavior. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 46(3), 538-557.
  • Obsuth, I., Murray, A. L., Malti, T., Sulger, P., Ribeaud, D., & Eisner, M. (2017). A non-bipartite propensity score analysis of the effects of teacher–student relationships on adolescent problem and prosocial behavior. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 46(8), 1661-1687. 
  • Obsuth, I., Mueller Johnson, K., Murray, A. L., Ribeaud, D., & Eisner, M. (2017). Violent Poly‐Victimization: The Longitudinal Patterns of Physical and Emotional Victimization throughout Adolescence (11–17 Years). Journal of research on adolescence.
  • Valdebenito, S., Ttofi, M. M., Eisner, M., & Gaffney, H. (2017). Weapon carrying in and out of school among pure bullies, pure victims and bully-victims: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. Aggression and Violent Behavior33, 62-77.
  • Averdijk, M., Malti, T., Eisner, M., Ribeaud, D., & Farrington, D.P. (2016). A vicious cycle of peer victimization? Problem behavior mediates stability in peer victimization over time. Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology, 2(2), 162–181.
  • Averdijk, M., Zirk-Sadowski, J., Ribeaud, D., & Eisner, M. (2016). Long-term effects of two childhood psychosocial interventions on adolescent delinquency, substance use, and antisocial behavior: a cluster randomized controlled trial. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 12(1), 1-27.
  • Averdijk, M., Van Gelder, J. L., Eisner, M., & Ribeaud, D. (2016). Violence begets violence, but how? A decision making perspective on the victim-offender overlap. Criminology. Online First. DOI: 10.1111/1745-9125.12102
  • Obsuth I, Cope A, Sutherland A, Pilbeam L, Murray AL, Eisner M (2016) London Education and Inclusion Project (LEIP): Exploring Negative and Null Effects of a Cluster-Randomised School-Intervention to Reduce School Exclusion - Findings from Protocol-Based Subgroup Analyses. PloS one 11(4):e0152423.
  • *Murray, A. L., Obsuth, I., Eisner, M., & Ribeaud, D. (2016). Shaping aggressive personality in adolescence: Exploring cross-lagged relations between aggressive thoughts, aggressive behaviour and self-control. Personality and Individual Differences, 97, 1-7.
  • *Murray AL, Eisner M, Ribeaud D (2016) The Development of the General Factor of Psychopathology 'p Factor' Through Childhood and Adolescence. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology: 1-14.
  • *Averdijk M, Malti T, Eisner M, Ribeaud D, Farrington DP (2016) A Vicious Cycle of Peer Victimization? Problem Behavior Mediates Stability in Peer Victimization Over Time. Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology, 1-20.
  • *Averdijk M, Zirk-Sadowski J, Ribeaud D, Eisner M (2016) Long-term effects of two childhood psychosocial interventions on adolescent delinquency, substance use, and antisocial behavior: a cluster randomized controlled trial. Journal of Experimental Criminology:1-27.