Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 188–196 | Cite as

Social Ecological Determinants of Youth Violence Among Ethnically Diverse Asian and Pacific Islander Students

  • Deborah Goebert
  • Janice Y. Chang
  • Jane Chung-Do
  • ‘Iwalani R. N. Else
  • Fumiaki Hamagami
  • Susana Helm
  • Katie Kinkade
  • Jeanelle J. Sugimoto-Matsuda


This study assesses the relative fit of risk/protective and social ecological models of youth violence among predominantly Asian and Pacific Islander students. Data from a 2007 survey of two multi-ethnic high schools in Hawai‘i were used. The survey assessed interpersonal youth violence, suicidality and risk and protective factors. Two models of youth violence (risk/protective and social ecological) were tested using structural equation modeling. We found good fits for the risk/protective model (χ2 = 369.42, df = 77, P < .0001; CFI = .580; RMSEA = .066) and the ecological model (χ2 = 1763.65, df = 292, P < .0001; CFI = .636; RMSEA = .076). The risk/protective model showed the importance of coping skills. However, the ecological model allowed examination of the interconnectivity among factors. Peer exposure to violence had no direct influence on individuals and peer influence was fully mediated by school climate. Furthermore, family factors directly contributed to peer exposure, community, and individual risk/protection. These findings have significant implications for intervention and prevention efforts and for the promotion of positive, competent, and healthy youth development. While few family and school-based programs have been developed and evaluated for adolescents, they have the greatest potential for success.


Asian/Pacific Islander Adolescents Youth Risk-and-protective factors Ecological model Violence 



This article was supported by the Asian/Pacific Islander Youth Violence Prevention Center (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; R49/CCR918619-05; 1 U49/CE000749-01), the National Center for Indigenous Hawaiian Behavioral Health (NIMH; R24 MH5015-01, R24 MH57079-A1, The Queen’s Medical Center, and The John A. Burns Foundation) and the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deborah Goebert
    • 1
    • 2
  • Janice Y. Chang
    • 1
  • Jane Chung-Do
    • 1
  • ‘Iwalani R. N. Else
    • 1
    • 3
  • Fumiaki Hamagami
    • 4
  • Susana Helm
    • 1
  • Katie Kinkade
    • 1
  • Jeanelle J. Sugimoto-Matsuda
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, John A. Burns School of MedicineHonolulu, Hawai‘iUSA
  2. 2.The Queen’s Medical CenterHonolulu, Hawai‘iUSA
  3. 3.Institutional Research and Assessment DivisionThe College of St. ScholasticaDuluthUSA
  4. 4.Longitudinal Research AssociatesCharlottesvilleUSA

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