Violent behavior by girls reporting violent victimization: A prospective study

Beth E. Molnar, Angela Browne, Magdalena Cerda, Stephen L. Buka

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess the relationships between individual victimization and neighborhood-level violence on subsequent violent perpetration by adolescent girls in a community-based sample. Design: Longitudinal, multilevel analysis of data collected by the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods. Three in-home interviews were conducted approximately 24 months apart between November 1995 and January 2002 with youth and their caregivers. Community-level data also were collected in 1995 from a random sample of Chicago residents. Hierarchical regression models and propensity scores were used. Setting: Families and neighborhoods in Chicago. Participants: Population-based sample of 637 girls, ages 9 to 15 years at baseline, and the neighborhoods in which they resided. This sample is diverse in race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, family structure, and neighborhood characteristics. Main Outcome Measure: Self-reports of violent behavior in the 12 months before the third interview. Results: At baseline, 38% of the girls reported perpetrating at least 1 violent behavior in the prior 12 months, 28% reported past year violent behavior at the first follow-up interview, and 14% reported past year violent behavior at the third interview. The odds of violent behavior were 2.2 times higher among girls who reported prior violent victimization, after prior confounding factors and baseline violent behavior were controlled (95% confidence interval, 1.3- 4.4). Homicides and concentrated poverty in girls' neighborhoods also were associated with aggression by girls. Conclusions: Improving safety in communities and homes may reduce rates of violent perpetration by adolescent girls. Study results suggest that, to facilitate identification of and healing among adolescent survivors of violence, practitioners should recognize perpetration of violence as potential sequelae of prior violent victimization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)731-739
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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