, Volume 40, Issue 1-2, pp 138-145
Date: 12 Jun 2007

Protective Factors Associated with Preadolescent Violence: Preliminary Work on a Cultural Model

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This study explores the influences of communal values, empathy, violence avoidance self-efficacy beliefs, and classmate’s fighting on violent behaviors among urban African American preadolescent boys and girls. As part of a larger intervention study, 644 low-income 5th grade students from 12 schools completed a baseline assessment that included the target constructs. Boys reported more violent behaviors, and lower levels of empathy and violence avoidance self-efficacy beliefs than girls. Path analyses revealed that, after controlling for the positive contributions of classmate’s fighting, violence avoidance self-efficacy beliefs were a negative predictor of violent behavior. Communal values had a direct negative relationship with violence for boys, but not girls. Both communal values and empathy were associated with less violent behavior through positive relationships with violence avoidance self-efficacy beliefs. For girls, classmate fighting had an indirect positive association with violent behavior through its negative relationship with violence avoidance self-efficacy beliefs. Findings are discussed in terms of implications of basic and applied research on violence among African American youth.