Effects of Neighborhood and Family Stressors on African American Male Adolescents' Self-Worth and Propensity for Violent Behavior

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Abstract

Multilevel data were used to examine the effects of neighborhood poverty on family stress and conflict, African American male adolescents' self-worth, and their propensity for violent behavior. Block group-level census data were linked with survey data from 188 African American male adolescents and their mothers. Path analyses indicated that neighborhood poverty did not directly affect adolescents' propensity for violent behavior but may have had an indirect effect through family stress and conflict and adolescents' self-worth. Subgroup analyses revealed that adolescents who had lived in their neighborhoods for more than 5 years were more susceptible to the potentially detrimental effects of neighborhood-level poverty and family stress and conflict. Implications for future research and prevention programming are discussed.

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