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Keywords:

  • Concentrated disadvantage;
  • violence;
  • social capital;
  • school attachment;
  • parental attachment;
  • peer drug use;
  • gangs;
  • drug use;
  • race;
  • racial groups;
  • delinquency

This study explains racial/ethnic differences in serious adolescent violent behavior using a contextual model derived from prior urban, developmental, and criminological theory. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, we compare involvement in serious violence among Asians, blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, and whites. Results indicate that statistical differences between whites and minority groups are explained by variation in community disadvantage (for blacks), involvement in gangs (for Hispanics), social bonds (for Native Americans), and situational variables (for Asians). The lesser involvement in violence among Asians compared to blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans is accounted for by similar factors. Differences in violent behavior among the latter three minority groups are not significant. Theoretical and policy implications of the findings are discussed.