This application seeks 3 years of supplemental funding for a study of approximately 710 African Americans transitioning to adulthood. We are currently in the midst of collecting the 5th wave of data. The targets were 10-11 years of age at wave 1 and are currently 20-21. NIMH has provided primary funding for the study and is funding the project for another 3 years which will include one more wave of data collection (wave 6). Prior to collecting waves 4 and 5, we obtained supplemental funds from the CDC to expand our study in order to examine the effects of community context on youth violence. These data have lead to several important findings and publications. The present proposal requests funds to collect an additional wave of community data that will include a number of new measures. As they transition to adulthood, our participants are spending increasing amounts of time away from home visiting friends or enjoying favorite hangouts. We plan to assess the types of routine social/recreational activities that targets typically display and the risk (e.g., prevalence of street code and crime) and protective factors (e.g., collective efficacy) that characterize the areas in which these activities occur. Further, the transition to adulthood entails a number of role transitions (e.g., marriage, employment, joining the military). These role transitions represent important discontinuities that can serve as turning points in people's lives. For some, these transitions provide an opportunity to escape childhood risk factors and achieve a more conventional life style, whereas for others failure and frustration regarding these transitions may lead to an escalation of violence and antisocial behavior. We have developed several hypotheses regarding the effect of community context on the successful negotiation of these role transitions, as well as the manner in which these transitions serve to temper or amplify violence and antisocial behavior. We propose to use community data to be collected at wave 6, along with data currently being collected in wave 5, in order to test these various hypotheses. The wave 6 data will include information collected from participants'best friends and romantic partners.

Public Health Relevance

Violence is so prevalent in many impoverished African American communities that the Center for Disease Control has labeled it a public health issue. The proposed research investigates the processes whereby various risk and protective factors serve to temper or amplify violent tendencies as African American youth make the transition to early adulthood. These findings will inform the development of policies and programs designed to reduce violence in African American communities.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC)
Research Project--Cooperative Agreements (U01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZCE1-JXS (08))
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Thierry, Joann
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University of Georgia
Social Sciences
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Simons, Leslie Gordon; Simons, Ronald L; Landor, Antoinette M et al. (2014) Factors linking childhood experiences to adult romantic relationships among African Americans. J Fam Psychol 28:368-79