240980 Different Life-Domain Stressors and the Development of Violent Behaviors Among African Americans Transitioning into Adulthood

Monday, October 31, 2011: 9:10 AM

Lorena Estrada-Martinez, PhD, MPH , Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
Cleopatra Caldwell, PhD , Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Jose A. Bauermeister, MPH, PhD , Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI
Marc Zimmerman, PhD , Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
General strain theory posits that exposure to stressors increases the risk for involvement in violent behaviors. African Americans are exposed to a disproportionate number and types of stressors many of which begin earlier in the life course than for the general population. Still unclear are the pathways by which different life-domain stressors may influence risk for engaging in violence for this population. Incorporating an ecological stress and coping framework, this study examined whether different stressors are equally salient in the development of violent behaviors among African Americans transitioning into young adulthood. This study utilized data from an African American subsample (n = 604) of the Flint Adolescent Study (FAS), an ongoing longitudinal study that followed a cohort of adolescents beginning in 9th grade (1994) into adulthood (2010). Multilevel growth curve models were used to examine how changes in five life-domain stressors (i.e., daily hassles, financial shortage, parenting stress, neighborhood stress, and racial discrimination) relate to violent behaviors, and to test whether there was a threshold at which the accumulation of exposure to different stressors served as a tipping point for risk. We found that continued exposure to daily hassles and discrimination increased the risk for violent behaviors during young adulthood. We also found a nonlinear relationship between the accumulation of exposure stressors and risk for violence. Findings from this study suggest that there may be identifiable stressors that can persist over time to influence the risk for violent behaviors at young adulthood. Implications for intervention development will be discussed.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Analyze the extent to which stressors from different life-domain may affect the risk for engaging in violent behaviors among African American young adults. 2. Identify whether a threshold of accumulation of exposure to stressors exists for the risk for violent behaviors among African American young adults. 3. Discuss potential intervention strategies to address risk factors amenable to change.

Keywords: Stress, Violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an authorized researcher within the Flint Adolescent Study (FAS), and the main investigator of this particular 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.