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Am J Public Health. 2013 Mar;103(3):435-42. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300931. Epub 2013 Jan 17.

Individual, family background, and contextual explanations of racial and ethnic disparities in youths' exposure to violence.

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School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


We used data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods to examine the extent to which individual, family, and contextual factors account for the differential exposure to violence associated with race/ethnicity among youths. Logistic hierarchical item response models on 2344 individuals nested within 80 neighborhoods revealed that the odds of being exposed to violence were 74% and 112% higher for Hispanics and Blacks, respectively, than for Whites. Appreciable portions of the Hispanic-White gap (33%) and the Black-White gap (53%) were accounted for by family background factors, individual differences, and neighborhood factors. The findings imply that programs aimed at addressing the risk factors for exposure to violence and alleviating the effects of exposure to violence may decrease racial/ethnic disparities in exposure to violence and its consequences.

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