Silicon Valley Notebook


Karen Robles


Environments that place adolescents at risk of, and those that protect them from, interpersonal violence were examined. Following a mixed methods design, survey data from the 1999-2006 Welfare, Children, and Families: A Three-City Study, were supplemented with qualitative insights from five professionals who work with victims of violence. Of the ecological environments considered, being part of peer drug and alcohol culture, and to a lesser extent adolescent alcohol/drug use, posed the strongest IPV risk, as predicted by theories of social disorganization and differential association. Presence of fathers in the home and Latino background, while offering some protective buffer against IPV, as per social integration theories, were not as strong as the risks. These findings contributed to the field of violence in intimate relationships and offered important lessons to practitioners about paying attention to adolescent peer cultures. Future researchers should pay attention to adolescent peers, in their schools and in their neighborhoods, as well how cultures shape violence experiences, particularly underreporting of the same.