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Exposure to Violence and Achievement Motivation Beliefs: Moderating Roles of Cultural-Ecological Factors

Abstract

This study conceptualized individual-level cultural-ecological factors (racial identity and religious coping) as adolescent assets that would promote achievement motivation and reduce negative associations between community violence exposure and motivation. Our examination of African American adolescents (N = 380) from urban contexts indicated a negative association between community violence exposure and motivation beliefs (academic self-efficacy and academic importance). Accounting for socioeconomic factors and parental support, higher racial pride (private regard), and higher use of religion to cope with difficult times predicted higher motivation beliefs. Religious coping reduced the negative association of violence exposure with motivation beliefs. Among boys, however, there was a stronger, negative relationship between community violence and academic self-efficacy for those higher in private regard. Boys reporting higher private regard had more positive motivation beliefs when experiencing lower community violence. Results suggest cultural-ecological factors can support academic motivation but also may not fully protect youth exposed to high ecological risk.

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Correspondence to Sheretta T. Butler-Barnes.

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Butler-Barnes, S.T., Chavous, T.M. & Zimmerman, M.A. Exposure to Violence and Achievement Motivation Beliefs: Moderating Roles of Cultural-Ecological Factors. Race Soc Probl 3, 75–91 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12552-011-9044-4

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Keywords

  • Achievement motivation beliefs
  • At-risk african american youth
  • Community violence
  • Racial identity
  • Religious coping