Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 47, Issue 5, pp 801–810 | Cite as

Hopelessness and Delinquent Behavior as Predictors of Community Violence Exposure in Ethnic Minority Male Adolescent Offenders

  • Amanda N. BurnsideEmail author
  • Noni K. Gaylord-Harden


Justice-involved boys from urban communities are disproportionately impacted by community violence exposure (ECV) and despite decades of research, rates of ECV in youth continue to increase particularly for youth involved in the juvenile justice system. Despite the increased risk of exposure, the majority of research focuses on what may protect youth from the deleterious outcomes associated with violence exposure, rather than strategies that may prevent the violence exposure from occurring. The current study seeks to shift the focus of research in this area to examining factors that may predict future violence exposure. Specifically, the purpose of the current study is to examine the role of hopelessness as a predictor of the risk for violence exposure in a sample of 831 justice-involved, urban boys ages 14–18 (52.2% African American, 42.1% Hispanic, 5.7% other). Results revealed that baseline levels of low aspirations and hopelessness towards the future indirectly predicted violence exposure 1 year later through engagement in delinquent behavior. Clinical implications for targeting youth with elevated risk and preventing future violence exposure are discussed.


Hopelessness Violence exposure Delinquency Juvenile justice 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyLoyola University ChicagoChicagoUSA

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