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Am J Community Psychol. 2011 Dec;48(3-4):247-56. doi: 10.1007/s10464-010-9387-9.

Do social connections and hope matter in predicting early adolescent violence?

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School of Nursing, University of Michigan, 400 N. Ingalls Street, Room 4320, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5482, USA.


We tested relationships between social connections, hope, and violence among young adolescents from socially distressed urban neighborhoods, and examined whether relationships between adolescents' family and school connectedness and violence involvement were mediated by hopefulness. Data were from middle school students involved in the Lead Peace demonstration study. The sample (N = 164) was 51.8% female; 42% African American, 28% Asian, 13% Hispanic, and 17% mixed race or other race; average age was 12.1 years; 46% reported physical fighting in the past year. In multivariate models, parent-family connectedness was protective against violence; school connectedness was marginally protective. Hopefulness was related to lower levels of violence. The relationship between school connectedness and violence was mediated by hopefulness; some evidence for mediation also existed in the family-parent connectedness and violence relationship. Findings warrant continued exploration of hopefulness as an important protective factor against violence involvement, and as a mediator in relationships between social connections and violence involvement.

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