Income, race/ethnicity, and exposure to violence in youth: Results from the national survey of adolescents

Authors


  • This research was supported by grant No. 93-IJ-CX-0023 from the National Institute of Justice; Dean G. Kilpatrick and Benjamin E. Saunders, principal investigators. Points of view or opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Abstract

This study examined the associations between household income, race/ethnicity, and exposure to violence in a nationally representative sample of youth. Participants included a national probability sample of adolescents (ages 12-17), who completed a telephone interview that assessed lifetime occurrences of witnessing violence, receipt of physically abusive punishment, physical assault, and sexual assault. Results indicated that as household income increased prevalence of witnessing violence, receipt of physically abusive punishment, physical assault, and sexual assault decreased for Caucasian but not African-American or Hispanic youth. In addition to the interaction of household income with race/ethnicity, a main effect of race/ethnicity across income groups was apparent for witnessing violence. More specifically, African-American and Hispanic youth reported significantly higher rates of witnessing violence at each income level relative to their Caucasian counterparts. Findings from this nationally representative sample of youth suggest that it may be simplistic to interpret high rates of violence exposure among minority youth as due to their disproportionate representation among the economically disadvantaged in the United States. This study illustrates the importance of examining risk and protective factors separately for each type of violence experienced by youth, and underscores the need to assess the generalizability of risk and protective factors across racial/ethnic groups. � 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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