Understand Nature & Causes of Youth Violence

One of CCYVP's aims is to understand the nature and causes of youth violence, bringing together a coalition of community, policy and academic partners. In order to better understand youth violence, CCYVP studies patterns and the prevalence of youth violence, identifies underlying causes of youth violence, studies the impact of exposure to violence, and develops geographic mapping and surveillance systems to target resources.

Chicago Youth Development Study (CYDS) 

Funded by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. CYDS is a longitudinal study that tracks the development of risk for school failure, antisocial behavior, and violence among inner-city male adolescents. Continuation funding expanded the focus to include partner violence and fathering.

Partner violence: 
Continuation funding expanded the focus to include women by adding the romantic partners of the males and a cohort of similar age females to the sample.  Two annual waves of data were collected from these young men, their romantic partners and friends of their romantic partners and has allowed us to evaluate issues related to relationship development and partner violence among its population.

This expansion was designed to focus on the influences on paternity among inner-city young adults, the influences on father’s involvement with his child(ren) and the impact of involvement and parenting practices on his child(ren)’s development. Two additional waves of data were collected from the young adult males who took part in the Chicago Youth Development Study (CYDS). Additionally, data were collected from the biological and non-biological children of the men, and the mothers of both the biological and non-biological children.

Developmental Ecological Measurement of Neighborhood Effects on Youth Violence 

Funded by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the purpose of this study was to develop, pilot and validate a set of theoretically implicated and empirically based measures of neighborhood social processes thought to be important in understanding risk and protection for youth violence.   The work applied an ecological view and a developmental emphasis of influence on youth violence risk that includes both the structural and social characteristics affecting neighborhoods as critical influences on risk for youth violence.  Central to this developmental approach is the importance of families as key ongoing mediators of other influences as well as through families’ direct relation to risk and protection.

Data was collected from two samples for measurement development and validation, each drawn from the same set of neighborhoods:  1) a neighborhood informant sample comprised of approximately 600 adults (20 adults from 30 neighborhoods) as sources  for “neighborhood level” construct measurement and refinement; and 2) an individual outcomes sample comprised of 10 parent and child pairs from families in which the oldest child is between ages 5 and 6 (school entry) and 10 parent and child pairs from families in which the oldest child is between ages 14 and 18 (adolescence) from each of these same neighborhoods.  The two samples will be used to estimate neighborhood characteristics and processes thought to affect youth violence risk (norms, social support and connection, social control, and routine activities; at the neighborhood and individual level).    The individual outcomes sample will also be used to evaluate the predictive validity of neighborhood measures for risk and protection of violence victimization and perpetration.

 The specific aims of this study:

To develop and refine measures and methods of measurement of important social processes (norms, social support and connection, social control, and routine activities) that theory and prior research indicate are related to risk and protection of youth violence.

To validate these neighborhood level measures through evaluation of the relation of these characteristics to neighborhood level of youth violence and school performance.

To test the specific contribution of each construct as measured by the neighborhood informant sample to individual risk for violence victimization and perpetration and to evaluate neighborhood risk as moderator of family effects on child aggression and violence, school functioning, and other indicators of child social functioning.

To test the variation in explanatory role of each construct to risk at two distinct developmental stages – adolescence and school entry

To test the relation between community structural characteristics (e.g., poverty, mobility, economic viability) and neighborhood social processes and how variation in that relation explains youth risk for violence and family functioning and other theorized moderators of neighborhood risk for individuals.