The Impact of Psychopathology, Race, and Environmental Context on Violent Offending in a Male Adolescent Sample

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Abstract

Research has identified a multitude of demographic, psychological, and contextual factors that are associated with violent offending among youth. However, much of the previous research has focused on single factors, and little is known about the effects of these various factors in tandem. The present study examines whether certain community factors impact the effects of race and psychopathology on violent crime. Multivariate analyses were used to investigate race-psychopathology combinations and the moderating influence of exposure to community violence in a sample of youth (N = 1,116). Youth without antisocial personality disorder (APD) or psychopathy were less violent than the other diagnostic groups, and Black youth were less likely to have psychopathy compared with Whites and Hispanics. However, Black youth with APD and psychopathy were twice as likely to exhibit violent crime versatility. Furthermore, Black and Hispanic youth demonstrating aggressive conduct problems committed a greater number of violent crime types than Whites. This relationship was further qualified, such that Black and Hispanic youth with APD and psychopathy, who were more exposed to community violence, committed a greater number of violent crime types compared with Whites. These results suggest that prevention and intervention strategies should consider individual and community-level factors.

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