Strategies for preventing youth violence: Facilitating collective efficacy among youth and adults


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Objective: The consequences of violence in low-income communities often are extensive, particularly among youth. Prior research demonstrates that communities can prevent violence by developing collective efficacy, which happens when neighbors share norms and values, trust one another, and are willing to intervene to address problems. Despite this evidence, there have been few attempts to translate the theory of collective efficacy into practice. The current study examines the results of a pilot community-based intervention designed to facilitate collective efficacy by engaging youth and adult residents in a disadvantaged neighborhood. Method: The intervention consisted of three phases: community organizing and mobilization; a training program to facilitate collective efficacy; and a community-based project, after the training, developed by participants to address a youth-violence prevention issue. The current study used a repeated measures design to examine the intervention’s effects on participants’ level of collective efficacy before and after the training, and following completion of the community project. A purposeful sampling method was used to recruit 24 youth and adult residents of a disadvantaged neighborhood. Results: After the training, participants increased their levels of collective efficacy—including their levels of social capital and social cohesion, and their likelihood to intervene in neighborhood problems. Following the community project, participants increased their norms and attitudes about intervening. Conclusions: This study can be used to inform the development of a larger scale intervention trial to facilitate collective efficacy at the community level and reduce youth violence.

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