Date of Award

Fall 2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology & Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

Randy Gainey

Committee Member

Bradley T. Brick

Committee Member

Ruth Triplett

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.S62 S89 2010


The literature linking abuse and later violent offending is extensive. More importantly, the effects of witnessing violence and peer violence on later violent offending have been well established. Drawing upon Akers' social learning theory, the current study explored the effects of victimization, witnessing violence, deviant peer association on later violent offending comparing Blacks and Whites. Using data from the National Survey of Adolescents (NSA), the sample was comprised of 2746 Whites and 572 Blacks. Bivariate and multivariate analyses revealed similar effects for Blacks and Whites. Examining social learning theory variables, the effects of witnessing violence, associating with violent peers and being physically abused were significantly related to later violent offending for Blacks and Whites. The study found that all social learning theory variables excluding sex abuse were significantly related to later violent offending for Blacks and Whites. Notably, no racial differences in the effects were found. Limitations and policy implications are discussed.


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