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Protective Effects of Neighborhood Collective Efficacy on Adolescent Substance Use and Violence Following Exposure to Violence

NCJ Number
Journal of Youth and Adolescence Volume: 43 Issue: 9 Dated: September 2014 Pages: 1498-1512
Abigail A. Fagan; Emily M. Wright; Gillian M. Pinchevsky
Date Published
September 2014
15 pages
Research has demonstrated that exposure to violence can result in many negative consequences for youth, but the degree to which neighborhood conditions may foster resiliency among victims is not well understood.
This study tests the hypothesis that neighborhood collective efficacy attenuates the relationship between adolescent exposure to violence, substance use, and violence. Data were collected from 1,661 to 1,718 adolescents participating in the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, who were diverse in terms of sex (51 percent male, 49 percent female), race/ethnicity (48 percent Hispanic, 34 percent African American, 14 percent Caucasian, and 4 percent other race/ethnicity), and age (mean age 12 years; range 8-16). Information on neighborhood collective efficacy was obtained from adult residents, and data from the 1990 US. Census were used to control for neighborhood disadvantage. Based on hierarchical modeling techniques to adjust for the clustered data, Bernoulli models indicated that more exposure to violence was associated with a greater likelihood of tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use and perpetration of violence. Poisson models suggested that victimization was also related to a greater variety of substance use and violent behaviors. A moderating effect of collective efficacy was found in models assessing the variety of substance use; the relationship between victimization and substance use was weaker for youth in neighborhoods with higher versus lower levels of collective efficacy. These findings are consistent with literature indicating that social support can ameliorate the negative impact of victimization. This investigation extends this research to show that neighborhood social support can also help to promote resiliency among adolescents. (Published Abstract)