Parental and kinship ties, and low self-control: Violence perpetration among rural African American adolescents from the Black Belt

Charlene Harris, J. Melissa Scarpate, Alexander T. Vazsonyi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: A substantial body of research supports both social control and self-control theories in explaining violent or deviant behaviors. Most previous work has focused on the links between family ties or bonds and deviance, along with low self-control. A potentially untested and overlooked bond is the extended kinship network, particularly among African American youth. The current study tested the extent to which kinship ties explained unique variability in violence perpetration, net the effects by family ties, low self-control, and background variables. Methods: Data were collected from rural African American adolescents enrolled in a poor, rural public school located in the Black Belt in the Southeastern United States. The sample included N = 610 adolescents (55.9% female; Mage = 15.64, SD = 1.74). Results: Findings from hierarchical regressions provided evidence that kinship ties explained unique variance in violence perpetration, above and beyond the effects of parental support and low self-control. Conclusions: Study findings provide some support for the unique importance of kinship ties in understanding variability in adolescent violence perpetration in this sample of poor, rural African American adolescents. Thus, they highlight a potentially unique extra-familial source of socialization and social control; this finding, in particular, has important theoretical and practical implications for prevention and intervention efforts targeting violent behaviors among rural African American youth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-119
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Adolescence
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Foundation for Professionals in Services for Adolescents


  • Family process
  • Impulsivity
  • Measure
  • Mentors
  • Parenting
  • Support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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