Race and Social Problems

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 272–290 | Cite as

Phenotypic Variations in Violence Involvement: Results from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health



Numerous studies suggest that our society is stratified not only by race and class, but also by phenotypic characteristics. The main objective of the present investigation was, using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, to elucidate the link between phenotype and violence involvement. Two outcomes were examined: being a perpetrator of violence and criminal justice system contact. Cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses were conducted on Asian, black and Hispanic respondents and as well as on the subsample of siblings. Independent variables included phenotype, socioeconomic status, other family, peer and neighborhood effects. Notwithstanding a certain degree of heterogeneity of outcomes across race–ethnicity, the results indicate a negative relationship between proximity to the European phenotype and the likelihood of violence involvement. In other words, the darker one’s complexion, eye and hair color, the higher the likelihood of violence involvement.


Colorism Phenotype Violence Race–ethnicity 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyThe University of Texas-Rio Grande ValleyEdinburgUSA

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