Factors associated with the use of violence among urban black adolescents

Am J Public Health. 1994 Apr;84(4):612-7. doi: 10.2105/ajph.84.4.612.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine social and psychological factors associated with the use and nonuse of violence among Black adolescents living in a community with a high level of violent crime.

Methods: Adolescents (n = 225, 44% male) 11 to 19 years of age living in or around nine housing projects in an urban area were administered an anonymous questionnaire.

Results: Self-reported use of violence was associated with exposure to violence and personal victimization, hopelessness, depression, family conflict, previous corporal punishment, purpose in life, self-assessment of the probability of being alive at age 25, and age and was higher among males.

Conclusions: These data support the hypothesis that exposure to violence is associated with adolescents' self-reported use of violence. However, adolescents with a higher sense of purpose in life and less depression were better able to withstand the influence of exposure to violence in the home and in the community.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Conflict, Psychological
  • Demography
  • Depression / psychology
  • Family
  • Female
  • Georgia / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Poverty Areas
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Public Housing
  • Regression Analysis
  • Self Concept
  • Social Environment*
  • Urban Population
  • Violence / psychology*