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Associations between Gun Violence Exposure, Gang Associations, and Youth Aggression:Implications for Prevention and Intervention Programs


Affiliations
1 Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, 2001 N. Soto Street, 3rd Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90033, United States
 

Using cross-sectional data collected from three middle schools in Southeast Los Angeles, we assessed the association of neighborhood violence exposure, gang associations, and social self-control with past week aggression in a sample of minority youth (n = 164). Results from Poisson and logistic regression models showed that direct exposure to gun violence, having friends in gangs, and low social self control were all positively associated with past week aggression. Among girls, having gang affiliated family members was positively associated with aggression, whereas among boys having friends in gangs was associated with past week aggression. Subjective expectations of engagement in future interpersonal violence were associated with being male, having friends in gangs, and fear of neighborhood gun violence.We recommend that youth violence prevention and intervention programs address the impact of family, peers, and gun violence on student coping and identify students with low social self-control who could benefit from social and emotional skills training.
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  • Associations between Gun Violence Exposure, Gang Associations, and Youth Aggression:Implications for Prevention and Intervention Programs

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Authors

Myriam Forster
Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, 2001 N. Soto Street, 3rd Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90033, United States
Timothy J. Grigsby
Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, 2001 N. Soto Street, 3rd Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90033, United States
Jennifer B. Unger
Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, 2001 N. Soto Street, 3rd Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90033, United States
Steve Sussman
Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, 2001 N. Soto Street, 3rd Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90033, United States

Abstract


Using cross-sectional data collected from three middle schools in Southeast Los Angeles, we assessed the association of neighborhood violence exposure, gang associations, and social self-control with past week aggression in a sample of minority youth (n = 164). Results from Poisson and logistic regression models showed that direct exposure to gun violence, having friends in gangs, and low social self control were all positively associated with past week aggression. Among girls, having gang affiliated family members was positively associated with aggression, whereas among boys having friends in gangs was associated with past week aggression. Subjective expectations of engagement in future interpersonal violence were associated with being male, having friends in gangs, and fear of neighborhood gun violence.We recommend that youth violence prevention and intervention programs address the impact of family, peers, and gun violence on student coping and identify students with low social self-control who could benefit from social and emotional skills training.