Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 518–535 | Cite as

The Impact of Collective Efficacy on Risks for Adolescents’ Perpetration of Dating Violence

  • Melissa P. Schnurr
  • Brenda J. Lohman
Empirical Research


Given prevalence rates and negative consequences that adolescents’ perpetration of dating violence may have on an individual’s well-being and future relationships, it is imperative to explore factors that may increase or reduce its occurrence. Thus, we aimed to identify how multiple contextual risk factors (individual, family, schools, and neighborhoods) were related to adolescents’ perpetration of dating violence over a 6 year period. Then, we assessed how neighborhood collective efficacy, an important predictor of urban youths’ well-being, buffered the relationship between each of the risk factors and adolescents’ perpetration of dating violence. Three waves of data from the Welfare, Children, and Families: A Three-City Study were used (N = 765; Ages 16–20 at Wave 3). The sample is 53 % female, 42 % African-American, and 53 % Hispanic. For the total sample, drug and alcohol use, low parental monitoring, academic difficulties, and involvement with antisocial peers were significant early risk factors for perpetration of dating violence in late adolescence. Risk factors also varied by adolescents’ race and sex. Finally, perceived neighborhood collective efficacy buffered the relationship between early academic difficulties and later perpetration of dating violence for Hispanic males. These results imply that multiple systems should be addressed in dating violence prevention programs.


Dating violence Adolescents Perpetration Neighborhood Longitudinal 



We gratefully acknowledge the support of the following organizations. Government agencies: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (RO1 HD36093 “Welfare Reform and the Well-Being of Children”), Office of the Assistant Secretary of Planning and Evaluation, Administration on Developmental Disabilities, Administration for Children and Families, Social Security Administration, and National Institute of Mental Health. Foundations: The Boston Foundation, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, The Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, The Kronkosky Charitable Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The Searle Fund for Policy Research, and The Woods Fund of Chicago. A special thank you is extended to our research firm, Research Triangle Institute (RTI), as well as to the children and caregivers who graciously participated in the Three-City Study and gave us access to their lives.

Authors’ Contributions

This article was one chapter of Melissa Schnurr’s dissertation completed at Iowa State University. She conceived the study, was responsible for the statistical analyses and drafted the manuscript for her dissertation. As an Associate Investigator of the Three-City Study, Brenda Lohman was critical in designing and assessing adolescent dating violence in the third wave of data collection. As Melissa Schnurr’s doctoral adviser, Lohman participated in the design, coordination, and writing of all phases of this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human DevelopmentUniversity of Wisconsin-Green BayGreen BayUSA
  2. 2.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesIowa State UniversityAmesUSA

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