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Am J Public Health. 2005 Feb;95(2):224-32.

Social anatomy of racial and ethnic disparities in violence.

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  • 1Department of Sociology, Harvard University, William James Hall, 33 Kirkland Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.

Erratum in

  • Am J Public Health. 2006 Apr;96(4):591.


We analyzed key individual, family, and neighborhood factors to assess competing hypotheses regarding racial/ethnic gaps in perpetrating violence. From 1995 to 2002, we collected 3 waves of data on 2974 participants aged 8 [corrected] to 25 years living in 180 Chicago neighborhoods, augmented by a separate community survey of 8782 Chicago residents. The odds of perpetrating violence were 85% higher for Blacks compared with Whites, whereas Latino-perpetrated violence was 10% lower. Yet the majority of the Black-White gap (over 60%) and the entire Latino-White gap were explained primarily by the marital status of parents, immigrant generation, and dimensions of neighborhood social context. The results imply that generic interventions to improve neighborhood conditions and support families may reduce racial gaps in violence.

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