Predicting violent behavior: The role of violence exposure and future educational aspirations during adolescence

J Adolesc. 2015 Oct:44:191-203. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2015.07.017. Epub 2015 Aug 15.


Few researchers have explored future educational aspirations as a promotive factor against exposure to community violence in relation to adolescents' violent behavior over time. The present study examined the direct and indirect effect of exposure to community violence prior to 9th grade on attitudes about violence and violent behavior in 12th grade, and violent behavior at age 22 via 9th grade future educational aspirations in a sample of urban African American youth (n = 681; 49% male). Multi-group SEM was used to test the moderating effect of gender. Exposure to violence was associated with lower future educational aspirations. For boys, attitudes about violence directly predicted violent behavior at age 22. For boys, future educational aspirations indirectly predicted less violent behavior at age 22. Implications of the findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Keywords: Adolescence; Exposure to violence; Future educational aspirations; Longitudinal; Violent behavior.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aspirations, Psychological*
  • Attitude
  • Educational Status*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Violence / psychology*
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult