College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Summer 8-19-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

W. LaVome Robinson, PhD

Second Advisor

Leonard Jason, PhD

Third Advisor

Bernadette Sanchez, PhD


African American adolescents are exposed to community violence at alarming rates. Compared to Caucasian adolescents, African American adolescents are 112% more likely to be exposed to community violence and 6 to 9 times more likely to be victims of homicide. There are many risk factors and behavioral/emotional issues associated with community violence exposure. Collective Efficacy Theory posited that collective efficacy (i.e., social cohesion and informal social control) influence community violence, and that a reciprocal association exists between collective efficacy and community violence. While the influence of collective efficacy on community violence exposure is established, the influence of community violence exposure on collective efficacy is understudied. The present study examined the reciprocal association between collective efficacy, or one of its subscales, and community violence, over time, in a sample of low-resourced, urban African American adolescents. Using Cross-Lagged Panel Models, reciprocal associations were tested. For each hypothesis, multiple models were tested to determine which model best fit the data. No significant cross-lagged paths were found between community violence exposure and collective efficacy (or one of its subscales, social cohesion and informal social control). Several significant within-wave associations were found, suggesting a positive association between collective efficacy and community violence exposure, a negative association between social cohesion and community violence exposure, and a positive association between informal social control and community violence exposure. Explanations for and implications of findings are discussed in light of theory and contextual issues, along with suggestions for future research.

SLP Collection