Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 401–416 | Cite as

The Impact of Neighborhood Disadvantage and Exposure to Violence on Self-Report of Antisocial Behavior Among Girls in the Juvenile Justice System

Empirical Research

Abstract

The current study extended previous research with adults and boys to girls in the juvenile justice system (N = 122; M = 16.7; SD = 1.3). Using a longitudinal research design, neighborhood disadvantage and exposure to violence (i.e., physical abuse by parents, physical abuse by peers, and witnessing violence) were assessed during incarceration. These risk factors were used to predict violent and delinquent behavior post-release. Furthermore, race specific pathways were examined to determine if the impact of these risk factors varied among Black (n = 69) and White girls (n = 53). Results indicated that Black girls were more likely than White girls to live in disadvantaged neighborhoods, but both reported similar levels of exposure to violence and self-report of antisocial behavior. Physical abuse by parents, time at risk, and age were related to violent behavior, while witnessing violence and time at risk were related to delinquent behavior. Multiple group analyses indicated the existence of race specific pathways. Specifically, physical abuse by parents was related to violent behavior for White girls while witnessing violence was related to violent and delinquent behaviors for Black girls. Results suggest that contextual processes play an important role in predicting antisocial behavior for Black girls.

Keywords

Female juvenile offenders Antisocial behavior Racial differences Violence exposure Neighborhood disadvantage 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The first author was funded to conduct this research (under the supervision of the second author) by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Health and Human Services (Grant #: CE 000956-01). This research was funded in part by the Canadian Institutes of Health and Research (CIHR Grants #54020 and #84567; PI Marlene Moretti) and the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice (VADJJ) to the University of Virginia. Points of view expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policy of the funding agencies. The authors would like to thank Mandi Burnette, Emily Marston, Marlene Moretti, and Candice Odgers for their support and assistance with this project. We also wish to thank Dennis Waite and Scott Reiner and the staff at VA-DJJ for assisting with data collection efforts.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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