204934 Racial/ethnic and gender differences in youth violence: A multilevel exploration of Latino youth

Monday, November 9, 2009: 4:45 PM

Lorena M. Estrada Martinez, MPH , Dept of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Cleopatra Caldwell, PhD , Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Amy J. Schulz, PhD MPH , Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Ana V. Diez Roux, MD, PhD , School of Public Health Department of Epidemiology, Univeristy of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Youth violence is a major cause of morbidity and mortality among Latinos. Like African Americans, the rates of violent behaviors are higher among Latinos than Whites (CDC, 2008). Violent behaviors within Latino subgroups are not understood due, in part, to research that does not examine the significance of racial and ethnic variations. Theories focused on new immigrants shed some light on sources of differences among Latinos (Zhou, 1997; Frey & Farley, 1996; Landale et al., 2006; Reimers, 2006) through processes of segmented structural and cultural assimilation. These assimilation processes may affect the socioeconomic, residential, and family environments of Latino adolescents, areas that have been associated with youth violent behaviors. To address limitation of previous work, the current study examines racial/ethnic differences in family and neighborhood influences on youth violence among Mexican/Mexican American, Cuban/Cuban American, Puerto Rican, African American, and White youths using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.

In this study we use an ecological framework to explore sources of variations of youth violence across Latino ethnic subgroups. Neighborhood residential segregation and economic well-being are examined as risk factors for violence, while relational familism (i.e., family cohesion, parental engagement) is examined as a moderator of these effects by ethnic subgroups. Preliminary results suggest significant racial/ethnic differences in youth violent behaviors. Further racial/ethnic variations in familism suggest that its protective effect may not operate in the same way for all Latino ethnic subgroups. Additional results and implications for interventions will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:
1. Appreciate the need to understand the impact of cultural and structural assimilation on violent behaviors among different Latino ethnic youths. 2. Discuss the contributions of both family and neighborhood risk and protective factors in youth violence among Latinos of different ethnic backgrounds. 3. Recognize the benefits of examining adolescentsí behaviors from a ecological, multilevel perspective.

Keywords: Youth Violence, Latino Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the primary investigator for this study .
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.