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Neighborhood Advantage, Relative Status, and Violence Among Foreign-Born Adolescents

NCJ Number
Justice Quarterly Volume: 35 Issue: 4 Dated: June 2018 Pages: 699-725
Lori A. Burrington
Date Published
June 2018
27 pages

This study examined the interplay among immigrant status, family socioeconomic status (SES), and neighborhood advantage in predicting adolescent violence.


Immigrant families and contexts are protective for delinquency, even though recent immigrants are more likely to be poor and reside in disadvantaged settings. Yet it is unclear whether the protective effects of immigrant status depend on the match between family SES and neighborhood advantage. Using multilevel longitudinal data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (N = 1,908), findings from the reported study show that first-generation adolescents from low-SES families have the highest odds of violence in the most advantaged contexts, exceeding that of even third-generation adolescents. In contrast, high-SES first-generation adolescents have the highest probability of violence in less advantaged contexts, but the lowest in the most advantaged neighborhoods. The results identify conditions under which the protective nature of immigrant status is eroded, and highlight the importance of relative status for understanding violence among foreign-born adolescents. (Publisher abstract modified)