Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Youth Violence

Youth Violence: Sex and Race Differences in Offending, Victimization, and Gang Membership

Finn-Aage Esbensen
Dana Peterson
Terrance J. Taylor
Adrienne Freng
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: Temple University Press
Pages: 232
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Youth Violence
    Book Description:

    Violence by and against youth continues to be one of the most challenging subjects facing criminologists. In this comprehensive and integrated analysis of the interrelationships of youth violence, violent victimization, and gang membership, Finn-Aage Esbensen, Dana Peterson, Terrance J. Taylor and Adrienne Freng seek to understand what causes youth violence and what can be done about it. Using the results from an inclusive study they conducted of eighth-graders in eleven American cities, the authors examine how the nature, etiology, and intersections of youth violence are structured by both sex and race/ethnicity.

    Youth Violenceis pertinent to juvenile justice policy considerations. The authors frame their discussion within the public health perspective, focusing on risk factors associated with violent behavior. Thefindings address prevalence and incidence, as well as the demographic correlates and cumulative effects of the risk factors associated with engagement in violence. Ultimately, the theories and research methodologies here are essential for understanding the dynamics of youth violence.

    eISBN: 978-1-4399-0073-4
    Subjects: Sociology, Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures and Tables
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    Violence by and against youth, ranging from gang-related drive-by shootings to mass killings during school, has attracted considerable public and scholarly attention since 1990 (see, e.g., Cloud 1999; Howell 2009; Loeber and Farrington 1998; Office of the Surgeon General 2001; Thornton et al. 2002; Zimring 1998). Some social commentators speak of “super-predators” or violent offenders as if there is some unique characteristic that can be used to identify those adolescents who will become involved in violence (Capaldi and Patterson 1996; Fox 1996). No such label or stigma accurately captures the variety of behavior engaged in by adolescents. In fact, the...

  6. PART I Understanding Youth Violence

    • 2 Conceptual Framework
      (pp. 11-24)

      Youth violence has been of considerable interest to moral crusaders, the general public, and criminologists for more than a century. Even before the first juvenile court was established in 1899, concern about “wayward youth” was widespread, and early reformers tried to intervene in the lives of these youthful offenders (see, e.g., Platt 1977). Some of the efforts consisted of providing structure to their lives; others focused on providing a sense of community; and still others tried to teach children a trade. One thing we can say with some degree of certainty is that none of these attempts to respond to...

    • 3 Research Design and Methodological Issues
      (pp. 25-38)

      In Chapter 1, we reviewed the types of data available for the study of youth violence: law enforcement data, specifically the Uniform Crime Reports; victimization surveys and general adolescent surveys such as the Monitoring the Future study that use self-report techniques to study youth violence. Knowledge about the data source and, importantly, the limitations of the data is vital to understanding the phenomenon under investigation. In this chapter, we provide a brief overview of self–report data, the method used in the study on which this book is based.

      It was the groundbreaking work of Short and Nye (1958) that...

  7. PART II Types of Youth Violence

    • 4 Youth Violence
      (pp. 41-69)

      Chapters 1–3 provided the framework for this chapter and the ones that follow, describing the book’s purpose in contributing to understanding youth violence as it relates to sex and race/ethnicity, our risk factor and theoretical perspectives, and our research methodology. In this chapter, we begin our analysis of the epidemiology and etiology of youth violence, opening with a review of the nature of and trends in American youth violence and moving into a more detailed description of violence from our school–based sample of youths. Key questions that guide the chapter are:

      What is the state of youth violence...

    • 5 Gang Membership
      (pp. 70-98)

      “Youth gangs” and “violence” are interwoven terms that evoke concern, if not fear, throughout the population. To some extent, it would be fair to characterize the early 1990s as a period of gang hysteria in the United States. “Bloods” and “Crips” became terms familiar even to rural residents who had never ventured into “gang-infested” urban centers. While some of this concern about youth gangs was brought about by media coverage of the relatively short-lived crack epidemic and the predicted emergence of a new breed of “super-predators” (DiIulio 1995), other factors contributed to the interest in youth gangs. Importantly, the increase...

    • 6 Violent Victimization
      (pp. 99-120)

      We now turn our attention to violent victimization, a topic that receives considerably less media and research interest than violent offending. While one form of youth victimization, school violence, has received some attention, much of this concern has been dedicated to deadly yet rare shootings on school property. We do not minimize the significance of school violence, but in this chapter we are interested in violent victimization in any setting. Thus, we examine the prevalence of and risk factors associated with three types of victimization: assault, aggravated assault, and robbery. We will examine each of these types of victimization separately,...

    • 7 The Co-occurrence of Violence and the Cumulative Effect of Multiple Risk Factors
      (pp. 121-146)

      In this chapter, we discuss three issues concerning youth violence: (1) the overlap among the three types of violence discussed in Chapters 4–6; (2) the cumulative effect of risk factors, or the extent to which multiple risk factors or the presence of risk factors in multiple domains increases the probability of youth violence; and (3) the extent to which risk factors have independent influences on violence when other factors are taken into account. Importantly, we continue to examine the unique roles of sex and race/ ethnicity when addressing these issues. In Chapters 4–6, we examined three types of...

  8. PART III Understanding and Responding to Youth Violence

    • 8 Putting It All Together: A Theoretical Framework
      (pp. 149-172)

      In Chapter 2, we introduced a theoretical model that links a number of risk factors into a conceptual framework. We discussed four theoretical perspectives: self-control, social bond, social learning, and routine activities/opportunity. Recall that these perspectives attempt to explain delinquency by focusing on a specific worldview or by emphasizing particular elements of the human experience. Self-control theorists, for instance, highlight the role of early socialization within the family, especially the extent to which parents supervise and monitor their children. This parental monitoring affects the extent to which children develop self-control—that is, the ability to regulate their behavior. People with...

    • 9 Responding to Youth Violence
      (pp. 173-192)

      In this final chapter, we integrate a summary of our findings regarding youth violence, gang membership, and violent victimization with discussion of programs or approaches suggested by our results. In particular, this chapter is framed by the following questions:

      Should we adopt different prevention or intervention approaches for youth violence, gang membership, and victimization?

      Does our work provide justification for gender-specific programming?

      Does our work provide justification for race/ethnicity-specific programming?

      The findings reported throughout this book allow us to make recommendations to prevent youth from becoming involved in violent offending, gangs, and violent victimization, as well as to intervene with...

  9. APPENDIX: Demographic and Risk Factor Measures
    (pp. 193-198)
  10. References
    (pp. 199-220)
  11. Index
    (pp. 221-232)