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.