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Experiences and perceptions of danger among urban adolescents

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Title: Experiences and perceptions of danger among urban adolescents
Author(s): Bhana, Arvinkumar
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Aber, Mark S.
Department / Program: Psychology
Discipline: Psychology
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): Psychology, Social Psychology, Clinical Sociology, Public and Social Welfare
Abstract: The present study examined adolescents' perceptions and experiences of danger in their neighborhoods within the stress-coping paradigm of Lazarus and Folkman (1984). The study focused around two primary goals, the first of which was to describe inner-city adolescents' experiences of violence, perceptions of danger and the ways in which they cope with experiences of danger in their neighborhoods. A second goal was to examine the relationship between perceptions and experiences of danger taking into account the influence of moderating variables such as daily hassles, ways of coping with danger, and perceived and received social support. Following focus group interviews, self-report measures were administered in school to inner-city adolescent boys and girls. Adolescents, in general, viewed the neighborhood as being unsafe, especially at night, especially girls. Most urban youth felt safest among familiar people, during the daytime, and when at school. The greatest sources of danger identified were strangers in the neighborhood, fights, gang activity, and walking alone in the neighborhood at night. Boys and girls reported multiple forms of witnessed violence, with most reporting gunshots as the most common form of witnessed violence. More reported having witnessed violence than having direct experiences of violence. Boys had more direct experiences of violence than did girls. The complex coping behavior of boys and girls in the context of dangerous neighborhoods would appear to confirm the viewpoint that not all situations are perceived as dangerous, and that urban adolescents appeared to have learned a number of ways of dealing with the chronic violence around them that helps to minimize the impact of this violence. The strongest predictors of perceptions of personal safety were daily hassles associated with neighborhood, family and peer resources, a confrontive way of coping, and witnessing violence. Reducing daily hassles associated with neighborhood and family characteristics are important to ameriolating violence in inner city neighborhoods.
Issue Date: 1995
Type: Text
Language: English
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/20677
Rights Information: Copyright 1995 Bhana, Arvinkumar
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog: AAI9543535
OCLC Identifier: (UMI)AAI9543535
 

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