Adolescent coping and neighborhood violence: perceptions, exposure, and urban youths' efforts to deal with danger

Am J Community Psychol. 2004 Mar;33(1-2):61-75. doi: 10.1023/b:ajcp.0000014319.32655.66.


Neighborhood violence is a persistent source of danger, stress, and other adverse outcomes for urban youth. We examined how 140 African American and Latino adolescents coped with neighborhood danger in low, medium, and high crime neighborhoods throughout Chicago. Participants reported using a range of coping strategies (measured via a modified version of the Ways of Coping Scale; R. S. Lazarus & S. Folkman, 1984). In low and medium crime rate areas, using confrontive strategies was significantly correlated with increased exposure to violence, and no strategies were associated with perceptions of safety. Coping strategies were associated with perceived safety to a substantial degree only in high crime neighborhoods, and none were associated with exposure to violence. A k means cluster analysis identified groups that differed in coping profiles and varied in rates of exposure to violence. Moderating effects of gender, ethnicity, and neighborhood were found for both person level and variable level analyses.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / ethnology*
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology
  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Chicago / epidemiology
  • Crime / ethnology
  • Crime / psychology
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology*
  • Homicide / ethnology
  • Homicide / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Residence Characteristics* / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Perception
  • Social Support
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Violence / ethnology*
  • Violence / psychology