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Keywords:

  • African American;
  • coping strategies;
  • family;
  • public housing;
  • violence;
  • women

The danger management strategies of low-income African American women who live in a public housing community characterized by chronic violence are examined. Based on qualitative interviews with 18 single mothers, we explored the violent community dangers with which women contend, the nature of this violence, the strategies used to deal with community violence, and their benefits and costs to family and community life. Findings show that multiple types of violence characterized life in the community and that this violence has specific physical locations, a particular set of actors, and a temporal rhythm. Women's responses to violence were nonconfrontational and family focused in nature. These efforts were effective in keeping women and their children safe, but did not reduce the prevalence of violence.