Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 43, Issue 9, pp 1498–1512 | Cite as

The Protective Effects of Neighborhood Collective Efficacy on Adolescent Substance Use and Violence Following Exposure to Violence

  • Abigail A. Fagan
  • Emily M. Wright
  • Gillian M. Pinchevsky
Empirical Research


Research has demonstrated that exposure to violence can result in many negative consequences for youth, but the degree to which neighborhood conditions may foster resiliency among victims is not well understood. This study tests the hypothesis that neighborhood collective efficacy attenuates the relationship between adolescent exposure to violence, substance use, and violence. Data were collected from 1,661 to 1,718 adolescents participating in the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, who were diverse in terms of sex (51 % male, 49 % female), race/ethnicity (48 % Hispanic, 34 % African American, 14 % Caucasian, and 4 % other race/ethnicity), and age (mean age 12 years; range 8–16). Information on neighborhood collective efficacy was obtained from adult residents, and data from the 1990 US. Census were used to control for neighborhood disadvantage. Based on hierarchical modeling techniques to adjust for the clustered data, Bernoulli models indicated that more exposure to violence was associated with a greater likelihood of tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use and perpetration of violence. Poisson models suggested that victimization was also related to a greater variety of substance use and violent behaviors. A moderating effect of collective efficacy was found in models assessing the variety of substance use; the relationship between victimization and substance use was weaker for youth in neighborhoods with higher versus lower levels of collective efficacy. These findings are consistent with literature indicating that social support can ameliorate the negative impact of victimization. This investigation extends this research to show that neighborhood social support can also help to promote resiliency among adolescents.


Exposure to violence Victimization Substance use Violence Neighborhoods Collective efficacy 



This study was supported by Grant R01DA30387-01 from the National Institute of Drug Abuse. Points of view or opinions stated in this study are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the funding agency. The data used in this study were made available by the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research. Neither the collectors of the original data nor the Consortium bear any responsibility for the analyses or conclusions presented here.

Author Contributions

Each of the authors has made substantial contributions to the manuscript. Specifically, AF and EW jointly conceived of the study’s research questions and the design of the study; AF took the lead role in drafting the paper; EW created the dataset to be analyzed in the study and managed the statistical analyses; GP took the lead role in conducting the statistical analyses; and EW and GP helped to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abigail A. Fagan
    • 1
  • Emily M. Wright
    • 2
  • Gillian M. Pinchevsky
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Criminology & LawUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.School of Criminology and Criminal JusticeUniversity of Nebraska at OmahaOmahaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Criminal JusticeUniversity of Nevada, Los VegasLos VegasUSA

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