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Are Chronic Exposure To Violence and Chronic Violent Behavior Closely Related Developmental Processes During Adolescence?

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice and Behavior Volume: 37 Issue: 10 Dated: October 2010 Pages: 1160-1179
Richard Spano; Craig Rivera; John M. Bolland
Date Published
October 2010
20 pages
This article explores the association between high rates of exposure to violence and adolescent violent behavior.
Five waves of longitudinal data from a sample of minority youth living in extreme poverty were used to examine the impact of chronic exposure to violence on chronic violent behavior. Given the rapid rate of developmental change during adolescence and the lack of multiyear studies of exposure to violence, semiparametric group-based modeling was used to identify trajectories of chronic exposure to violence (7 percent of youth), chronic violent victimization (9 percent of youth), chronic vicarious victimization (39 percent of youth), and chronic violent behavior (12 percent of youth). The multivariate findings revealed that (a) youth with chronic exposure to violence were 3,150 percent (or 31.5 times) more likely to engage in chronic violent behavior and (b) chronic vicarious victimization was a significant predictor of chronic violent behavior, after controlling for the effects of chronic violent victimization. The theoretical and policy implications of these findings as well as areas for future research are discussed. Tables, figures, and references (Published Abstract)