Parent and peer predictors of violent behavior of Black and White teens

Violence Vict. 2013;28(1):145-60. doi: 10.1891/0886-6708.28.1.145.


This study examines the role that parenting and deviant peers play on frequency of self-reported violent behavior in the 10th grade while testing race differences in mean levels and impact of these risk and protective factors. The level and impact of family and peer factors on violent behavior across race are modeled prospectively from 8th to 10th grade in a sample of 331 (Black [n = 163], White [n = 168]) families from Seattle, Washington, using data from self-administered computer-assisted questionnaires. Mean-level differences indicated greater levels of violent behavior and risk for Black teens in some cases and higher protection in others. Multiple-group structural equation modeling indicated no race differences in predictors of teen violence. Income was also predictive of violent behavior, but analyses including both income and race indicated their relationships to violence overlapped so neither was uniquely predictive. Subsequent logistic regressions revealed that both race and income differences in violent behavior were mediated by association with friends who get in serious trouble at school. We conclude that higher rates of self-reported violent behavior by Blacks compared to Whites are attributable to lower family income and higher rates of associating with deviant peers at school.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Black People* / psychology
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Parenting*
  • Peer Group*
  • Poverty
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Violence / ethnology*
  • Violence / psychology
  • Washington
  • White People* / psychology