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129 Examining the protective effects of social capital and social support on the perpetration of violence among a national sample of adolescents
  1. Daniel Schober
  1. Depaul University, Chicago, USA


Statement of Purpose Research shows that exposure to violence is a risk factor for perpetrating violence. However, there is a need to better understand factors that protect against the perpetration of violence among individuals exposed to it. This study examines the effects of two protective factors – social capital and social support – on the perpetration of violence with a knife or gun, among a national sample of adolescents.

Methods/Approach A case-control design was used; youth who reported shooting or stabbing someone (N=269) were matched by gender, age, and race to 269 youth who did not report perpetrating this type of violence. Three risk factors related to exposure to violence (1 year prior) were examined: witnessing violence (you saw someone shoot or stab another person), being threatened with violence (someone pulled a knife or gun on you), being injured in a violent act (Someone shot or stabbed you). Protective factors included social support (7 summed items) and school social capital (5 summed items). A multivariate logistic regression across cases and controls included risk factors, protective factors, and key covariates (sex, race, parental marital status, receipt of public assistance).

Results The full model shows that those who witnessed violence in the past 12 months (saw someone shoot or stab another person) were significantly more likely to report perpetrating a violent act (shooting or stabbing someone). Further, school social capital was a significant protective factor against shooting or stabbing someone.

Conclusion The findings from this study document the impact of exposure to violence and the potential of school-based social capital in preventing the violent use of weapons during adolescence.

Significance These results can guide school-based intervention development aimed at preventing the perpetration of violence among adolescents and in turn, further exposing others to violence, which can impact health across the lifespan.

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