Social Disadvantages and Peer Victimization: Exploring Potential Pathways

Jun Sung Hong, Jinwon Kim, Maha Albdour, Anthony A. Peguero, Joanne P. Smith-Darden, Shantalea Johns, Dexter R. Voisin

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2 Scopus citations


The present study tests a conceptual framework guided by the social disorganization theory, which examined whether neighborhood deterioration was correlated with perceived hopelessness, and coping strategies (i.e., defending behavior and a display of a tough demeanor). We also examined whether, within the context of social disadvantage, some coping strategies were correlated with aggressive behavior, which might be associated with peer victimization. The study sample consisted of 502 African American youths in low-resource communities in Chicago’s Southside. Results indicated that neighborhood deterioration was positively associated with hopelessness (B =.138, p =.006), tough demeanor (B =.137, p =.042), and peer victimization (B =.158, p =.011). Also, hopelessness was positively associated with peer victimization (B =.109, p =.025). Defending behavior was positively associated with physical aggression (B =.110, p =.009) and verbal aggression (B =.047, p =.019). Moreover, tough demeanor was also positively associated with physical aggression (B =.217, p <.001) and verbal aggression (B =.169, p <.001). Furthermore, verbal aggression was found to be positively associated with peer victimization (B =.766, p =.019). Overall, findings point to a more nuanced and complex relationship between neighborhood conditions and peer victimization among urban African American youth. An understanding of the coping strategies of urban adolescents in dealing with peer victimization encounters can shed light on the complexities of adolescent peer dynamics in urban areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)802-823
Number of pages22
JournalSociological Inquiry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2021

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© 2021 Alpha Kappa Delta: The International Sociology Honor Society.


  • African American
  • hopelessness
  • neighborhood
  • peer victimization
  • youth violence


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