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Linking Community Factors and Individual Development

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 1998
4 pages
Publication Series
This report describes research designed to determine the developmental sequences that lead some children to engage in antisocial behavior.
This research is a component of the multifaceted Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods. During the past 3 years, the research team has surveyed cohorts of youth in selected Chicago communities to explore the pathways to delinquent, criminal, and violent behavior and to understand why some children's antisocial behavior begins early in life and persists throughout much of their lives, while other children go through a short-lived period of delinquent behavior that begins in early adolescence. The research team measures levels of social control and cohesion as typified by collective rearing of children and the regulation of behavior to develop what they call the "collective efficacy" of each of the study communities. Researchers define "collective efficacy" as "mutual trust and a willingness to intervene in the supervision of children and the maintenance of public order." The study's sample consists of 343 neighborhoods stratified by race, ethnicity, and social class. For an in-depth, longitudinal study of pathways to violence, the research team randomly selected 80 neighborhoods from among the 343 in the study and then selected 100 children of different ages from each of the 80 neighborhoods. The researchers found a strong correlation between exposure to violence and self-reports of violent behavior. Between 30 and 40 percent of the children who reported exposure to violence also displayed significant violent behavior themselves. The research also shows that girls are involved in violence as much as boys, although the nature of the violence is different. 3 notes

Date Published: September 1, 1998