Protective factors for aggression in rural African American youth Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Irvin, Matthew J.
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • This study was undertaken to augment the limited knowledge of protective factors for aggression in rural African American youth. Specifically, this study sought to determine if several factors during middle school functioned as buffers against aggressive behavior in high school. Aggression is a significant issue facing our educational system. For example, most of the aggression youth encounter occurs on school grounds. In addition, engaging in and being the recipient of aggressive behavior adversely impacts numerous important educational outcomes. One of the most potent risks for aggression is economic deprivation. African American youth in rural areas of the South experience severe and persistent poverty, but research has rarely involved this population. Studies with rural and African American youth have typically incorporated a deficit orientation. As a result, the variation and heterogeneity in strengths and risks across these populations has been neglected. Person-oriented research has demonstrated that cluster analytic procedures can identify unique combinations of strengths and risks that capture this variation and also improve prediction of developmental outcomes. Consequently, there is a need for studies of resilience that incorporate a person-oriented approach and seek to clarify protective factors for aggression in rural African American youth. Cluster analyses on teacher-ratings of aggression, academics, and popularity were undertaken to identify participants' profiles of risks and strengths at the end of elementary school. Youth with multiple risk profiles were identified and were considered to be at-risk for future aggression. Results demonstrated that youth with multiple risks at the end of elementary school were more aggressive in high school. The factors across early adolescence that were examined to determine if these served a protective function were involvement in school activities, bonding to school, and involvement in church activities. Results indicated that bonding to school served a general protective function for girls while involvement in school activities was protective for boys. The significance, strengths and limitations, and implications of this study for prevention and intervention efforts are discussed.
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  • In Copyright
  • Farmer, Thomas W.
  • Open access

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