Navigating between cultures: the role of culture in youth violence

J Adolesc Health. 2004 Mar;34(3):169-76. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2003.07.015.


The purpose of this paper is to review three cultural concepts (acculturation, ethnic identity, bicultural self-efficacy) and their relationship to the known risk and protective factors associated with youth violence. We conducted a review of the relevant literature that addresses these three cultural concepts and the relationship among culture, violent behavior, and associated cognition. The available literature suggests that ethnic identity and bicultural self-efficacy can be best thought of as protective factors, whereas acculturation can be a potential risk factor for youth violence. We examine the connection between these cultural concepts and the risk and protective factors described in the 2001 Surgeon General's Report on Youth Violence, and present a summary table with cultural risk and protective factors for violence prevention. These concepts can assist physicians in identifying risk and protective factors for youth violence when working with multicultural adolescents and their families. Physicians are more effective at providing appropriate referrals if they are aware that navigating among different cultures influences adolescent behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cultural Characteristics*
  • Humans
  • Self Concept
  • Self Efficacy
  • Violence*