Wright finds that the cycle of violence may be contextualized by neighborhood conditions
Although the cycle of violence theory has received empirical support (Widom, 1989a, 1989b), in reality, not all victims of child physical abuse become involved in violence. Therefore, little is known regarding factors that may moderate the relationship between abuse and subsequent violence, particularly contextual circumstances. Professor Emily Wright and Abigail Fagan (University of Florida) used longitudinal data from 1,372 youth living in 79 Chicago neighborhoods and employed a multivariate, multilevel Rasch model to explore the degree to which neighborhood disadvantage and cultural norms attenuate or strengthen the abuse–violence relationship. Their results indicated that the effect of child physical abuse on violence was weaker in more disadvantaged communities. Neighborhood cultural norms regarding tolerance for youth delinquency and fighting among family and friends did not moderate the child abuse–violence relationship, but each had a direct effect on violence, such that residence in neighborhoods more tolerant of delinquency and fighting increased the propensity for violence. These results suggest that the cycle of violence may be contextualized by neighborhood structural and cultural conditions. The full results of this study recently appeared in Criminology (2013, Volume 51, Issue 2).
Story published 05/2013