Are Chronic Exposure To Violence and Chronic Violent Behavior Closely Related Developmental Processes During Adolescence?

Five waves of longitudinal data from a sample of minority youth living in extreme poverty were used to examine the impact of chronic exposure to violence on chronic violent behavior. Given the rapid rate of developmental change during adolescence and the lack of multiyear studies of exposure to violence, semiparametric group-based modeling was used to identify trajectories of chronic exposure to violence (7% of youth), chronic violent victimization (9% of youth), chronic vicarious victimization (39% of youth), and chronic violent behavior (12% of youth). The multivariate findings revealed that (a) youth with chronic exposure to violence were 3,150% (or 31.5 times) more likely to engage in chronic violent behavior and (b) chronic vicarious victimization was a significant predictor of chronic violent behavior, after controlling for the effects of chronic violent victimization. The theoretical and policy implications of these findings as well as areas for future research are discussed.

Publication Date

October 2010

Publication Name

Criminal Justice and Behavior

Violence type

Richard Spano, Craig Rivera and John M. Bolland