Factors Associated with the Use of Violence among Urban Black Adolescents

OBJECTIVES. The purpose of this study was to examine social and psychological factors associated with the use and nonuse of violence among Black adolescents living in a community with a high level of violent crime.

METHODS. Adolescents (n = 225, 44% male) 11 to 19 years of age living in or around nine housing projects in an urban area were administered an anonymous questionnaire.

RESULTS. Self-reported use of violence was associated with exposure to violence and personal victimization, hopelessness, depression, family conflict, previous corporal punishment, purpose in life, self-assessment of the probability of being alive at age 25, and age and was higher among males.

CONCLUSIONS. These data support the hypothesis that exposure to violence is associated with adolescents’ self-reported use of violence. However, adolescents with a higher sense of purpose in life and less depression were better able to withstand the influence of exposure to violence in the home and in the community.

Publication Date

April 1994

Publication Name

American Journal of Public Health


Robert H. DuRant, PhD, Chris Cadenhead, BA, RobertA. Pendergrast, MD, MPH, Greg Slavens, BBA, and Charles W. Linder, MD