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J Youth Adolesc. 2009 Mar;38(3):401-16. doi: 10.1007/s10964-008-9326-3. Epub 2008 Sep 9.

The impact of neighborhood disadvantage and exposure to violence on self-report of antisocial behavior among girls in the juvenile justice system.

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Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, 102 Gilmer Hall, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4400, USA.


The current study extended previous research with adults and boys to girls in the juvenile justice system (N = 122; M = 16.7; SD = 1.3). Using a longitudinal research design, neighborhood disadvantage and exposure to violence (i.e., physical abuse by parents, physical abuse by peers, and witnessing violence) were assessed during incarceration. These risk factors were used to predict violent and delinquent behavior post-release. Furthermore, race specific pathways were examined to determine if the impact of these risk factors varied among Black (n = 69) and White girls (n = 53). Results indicated that Black girls were more likely than White girls to live in disadvantaged neighborhoods, but both reported similar levels of exposure to violence and self-report of antisocial behavior. Physical abuse by parents, time at risk, and age were related to violent behavior, while witnessing violence and time at risk were related to delinquent behavior. Multiple group analyses indicated the existence of race specific pathways. Specifically, physical abuse by parents was related to violent behavior for White girls while witnessing violence was related to violent and delinquent behaviors for Black girls. Results suggest that contextual processes play an important role in predicting antisocial behavior for Black girls.

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