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Protective Factors for Violence Perpetration in Somali Young Adults: The Role of Community Belonging and Neighborhood Cohesion

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2015
9 pages
This study examined violence perpetration among Somali young adults and the potential for community belonging and neighborhood cohesion to serve as protective influences.
Somalis (N = 374) living in four North American cities completed verbally administered standardized instruments assessing trauma, neighborhood cohesion, Somali belongingness, and violence perpetration. Younger age and greater time in the U.S./Canada were independently associated with increased odds of violence perpetration, and those who had experienced high levels of trauma (as compared with those with moderate or low trauma exposure) were significantly more likely to commit violence. Furthermore, higher Somali community belonging was associated with a significant reduction in the odds of violence perpetration when neighborhood cohesion was low but an increased odds of violence perpetration when cohesion was high. The study concludes that neighborhood cohesion and community belonging are both important factors in relation to youth violence. In the context of low neighborhood cohesion, Somali communities may benefit from examining ways of bringing alienated youth back into the community. Efforts to reengage with ostracized youth and extend the same kind of protective cultural resources that benefit those youth who experience higher levels of belonging may be beneficial to both the youth and the communities in which they live. (Publisher abstract modified)
Date Published: October 1, 2015