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Efficacy to avoid violence and parenting: A moderated mediation of violence exposure for African American urban-dwelling boys
Development and Psychopathology  (IF5.317),  Pub Date : 2022-05-02, DOI: 10.1017/s0954579422000098
Alvin Thomas, Shervin Assari, Erica Odukoya, Cleopatra H. Caldwell

We took a risk and resilience approach to investigating how witnessing physical violence influences adolescent violent behaviors overtime. We proposed efficacy to avoid violence as a major path of influence in this negative trajectory of adolescent development. We also focus on the protective roles of parenting behaviors for African American boys living in disadvantaged contexts. Most of our sample of 310 African American adolescent males (M age = 13.50, SD = .620) had experienced significant amounts of violence, but they also reported continued efficacy to avoid violence. We tested a first stage dual moderated mediation model and found that higher levels of witnessing violence lead to more violent behavior and less efficacy to avoid violence, and that efficacy was the mediator in that link. Youth who witness more violence may feel that engagement in violence is inescapable and thus may themselves end up engaging in it. These problematic long-term trajectories were moderated by parent’s communication about violence and monitoring revealing possible protections for youth, and an enhancement of youths’ internal strengths. Our findings propose pathways that can inform interventions that may protect African American adolescent boys against the vicious cycle of exposure to, and acts of, violence.