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Advisory Committee Chair

Susan Davies

Advisory Committee Members

John Bolland

Connie Kohler

Melissa Galvin

Terri Lewis

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2012

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Public Health

Abstract

ABSTRACT For nearly two decades, violence has been viewed as a major public health issue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4,141 young people between the ages of 10 and 19 were murdered in 2008, and over 480,238 young people were treated for violence-related injuries in U.S. emergency rooms that same year. That translates to an average of 11 young people murdered each day, and a daily average of 1,315 young people who sustained violence-related injuries so severe that they required treatment at a hospital. The purpose of this study was to test a multilevel model linking maternal connectedness, neighborhood connectedness, and prosocial peer support with youth commission of weapon violence. Bronfenbrenner's social-ecological framework served as a conceptual framework for this study. Relationships between social connections and violent behaviors were examined in a sample of adolescents who had participated in two or more consecutive waves of the Mobile Youth Survey (MYS) between 1998 and 2009. The MYS is a multiple cohort longitudinal study of youth between the ages of 10 and 19 years, the great majority of whom is African American and from impoverished neighborhoods. This secondary analysis used a Granger Causality approach to assess the relationship between social connections and other risk and protective factors, and the commission of weapon violence. This study found that there were no statistically significant effects for either maternal connectedness or neighborhood connectedness on the commission of weapon violence. Likewise, prosocial peer support had no statistically significant effect. These findings are in contrast to findings of previous studies of social connections and youth violence conducted with a more nationally representative sample of youth. Parental monitoring and having a family curfew, however, both had a statistically significant negative effect on commission of weapon violence.

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