The Multiple Contexts of Socialization: Neighborhood and School Effects on Urban Adolescent Violence

Christopher Browning, Ohio State University
Lori A. Burrington, Pennsylvania State University

Although residential neighborhood economic structure is a robust predictor of violence among urban youth, the mechanisms accounting for this link remain elusive. We argue that neighborhood research on violence has largely omitted a key socialization context — the school. We address this gap using a unique data set that links subject information from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods with data from the Chicago Public Schools. Results of multilevel Rasch models indicate that school economic structure explains a substantial proportion of the association between neighborhood economic context and individual-level violence. In turn, measures of school social climate (teacher collective responsibility and the prevalence of disciplinary problems) partially account for the link between school economic structure and violence. School factors also explain a substantial proportion of the black-white disparity in violence. These findings point to the importance of simultaneously considering multiple developmentally relevant contexts in explaining adolescent well-being.

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Presented in Session 84: Neighborhood Effects and Neighborhood Change