Online Program

Association between early exposure to violence in mid-adolescence and later pro-violence beliefs in early adulthood among inner-city individuals

Monday, November 2, 2015

Douglas Roehler, PhD, MPH, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI
Justin Heinze, PhD, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI
Andrew Grogan-Kaylor, MA, MSSW, PhD, University of Michigan School of Social Work, Ann Arbor, MI
Marc Zimmerman, PhD, Prevention Research Center of Michigan, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI
Background/Purpose: Youth Violence is the leading cause of death for young African American males. Exposure to violence during adolescence is a risk factor for negative outcomes; its relationship to violence in adulthood is poorly understood, with inconsistent findings in the literature. The objective is to describe the association between earlier trajectories of adolescent exposure to violence and later pro-violent beliefs.

Methods: Using longitudinal data (12 waves) and growth curve modeling, we examined the association between violence exposure (i.e., violence observation, victimization, and family conflict) for four years in adolescence (Mage = 14.9-17.9) and the trajectory of pro-violence beliefs in adulthood among urban, African American youth (N=637, 51% female, Mage = 20.1-34.1).

Results/Outcomes: Findings suggest a positive and significant association between violence exposure during mid-adolescence and pro-violence beliefs during early adulthood. Those with increasing exposure to violence during the first four years of high school had higher pro-violence beliefs in early adulthood.

Conclusions: The findings indicate that those with an increasing trajectory of violence exposure early in life are associated with increasing rates of pro-violence beliefs into adulthood. With these findings, interventions could be aimed at those youth exposed to elevated cumulative levels of exposure. To our knowledge, this is the first time the trajectory of early exposure to violence has been investigated as a risk factor for a later trajectory of pro-violence beliefs using longitudinal data. Moreover, this study follows participants for several decades, whereas most longitudinal studies rarely follow participants for this length of time.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe pro-violence beliefs trajectories during adolescence in a of sample at-risk youth. Investigate how violence exposure may be a risk factor for pro-violence beliefs during early adulthood. Analyze the influence of both time-varying covariates and time-invariant characteristics on exposure to violence over time among youth using growth curve modeling.

Keyword(s): Youth Violence, Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked with these data previously examining factors influencing the health and development of adolescents. I am interested in factors associated with violent behavior and consequences of violence exposure among youth, particularly high-risk youth, as this is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in this population.
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.

Back to: 3306.0: Violence Related Injuries