Do Social Connections and Hope Matter in Predicting Early Adolescent Violence?

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We tested relationships between social connections, hope, and violence among young adolescents from socially distressed urban neighborhoods, and examined whether relationships between adolescents' family and school connectedness and violence involvement were mediated by hopefulness. Data were from middle school students involved in the Lead Peace demonstration study. The sample (N = 164) was 51. 8% female; 42% African American, 28% Asian, 13% Hispanic, and 17% mixed race or other race; average age was 12. 1 years; 46% reported physical fighting in the past year. In multivariate models, parent-family connectedness was protective against violence; school connectedness was marginally protective. Hopefulness was related to lower levels of violence. The relationship between school connectedness and violence was mediated by hopefulness; some evidence for mediation also existed in the family-parent connectedness and violence relationship. Findings warrant continued exploration of hopefulness as an important protective factor against violence involvement, and as a mediator in relationships between social connections and violence involvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-256
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Community Psychology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments Funds for this research were provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (University of Minnesota Prevention Research Center; cooperative agreement #U48 DP000063, PI: MD Resnick), (Center for Adolescent Nursing; research training grant T80 MC00021-13; PI: LH Bearinger). Dr. Stoddard is currently supported by the National Institute of Nursing Research (University of Michigan Health Promotion/Risk Reduction Interventions with Vulnerable Populations; Project No.: 5T32NR007073-18, PI: AM Villarruel). The views expressed in this paper do not necessarily reflect those of CDC or NINR.


  • Hope
  • Mediation
  • Parent-family connectedness
  • School connectedness
  • Violence


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