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Neighborhood Factors and Dating Violence Among Youth

A Systematic Review

      Context

      The purpose of this review is to summarize the empirical research on neighborhood-level factors and dating violence among adolescents and emerging adults to guide future research and practice.

      Evidence acquisition

      In 2015, a total of 20 articles were identified through a search of the literature using PubMed. Eligible articles included those that (1) had been published in a peer-reviewed journal since 2005; (2) reported a measure of association between at least one neighborhood-level factor and dating violence; and (3) had a study population of youth aged <26 years. We abstracted information about the studies, including measurement of dating violence and neighborhood factors, and measures of effect.

      Evidence synthesis

      Results were summarized into three categories based on the aspect of neighborhood that was the focus of the work: demographic and structural characteristics (n=11); neighborhood disorder (n=12); and social disorganization (n=8). There was some evidence to suggest that neighborhood disadvantage is associated with dating violence, but very little evidence to suggest that residence characteristics (e.g., racial heterogeneity) are associated with dating violence. Results do suggest that perceived neighborhood disorder is associated with physical dating violence perpetration, but do not suggest that it is associated with physical dating violence victimization. Social control and community connectedness are both associated with dating violence, but findings on collective efficacy are mixed.

      Conclusions

      Existing research suggests that neighborhood factors may be associated with dating violence. However, there is a limited body of research on the neighborhood context of dating violence, and more rigorous research is needed.
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