Youth Violence in Context : An Ecological Routine Activity Framework book cover
1st Edition

Youth Violence in Context
An Ecological Routine Activity Framework

ISBN 9780367133191
Published September 22, 2021 by Routledge
176 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book places youth violence within a Routine Activity Ecological Framework. Youth violence, specifically youth exposure to community violence and youth perpetration of violent behaviors, occur within various contexts. Ahlin and Antunes situate their discussion of youth violence within an ecological framework, identifying how it is nested within four mesosystem layers: community, family, peers and schools, and youth characteristics. Contextualized using an ecological framework, the Routine Activity Theory and Lifestyles perspective (RAT/LS) are well suited to guide an examination of youth violence risk and protective factors across the four layers.

Drawing on scholarship that explores predictors and consequences of youth violence, the authors apply RAT/LS theory to explain how community, family, peers, schools, and youth characteristics influence youth behavior. Each layer of the ecological framework unfolds to reveal the latest scholarship and contextualizes how concepts of RAT/LS, specifically the motivated offender, target suitability, and guardianship, can be applied at each level. This book also highlights the mechanisms and processes that contribute to youth exposure to and involvement in violence by exploring factors examined in the literature as protective and risk factors of youth violence.

Youth violence occurs in context, and, as such, the understanding of multilevel predictors and preventive measures against it can be situated within an RAT/LS ecological framework. This work links theory to extant research. Ahlin and Antunes demonstrate how knowledge of youth violence can be used to develop a robust theoretical foundation that can inform policy to improve neighborhoods and youth experiences within their communities, families, and peers and within their schools while acknowledging the importance of individual characteristics. This monograph is essential reading for those interested in youth violence, juvenile delinquency, and juvenile justice research and anyone dedicated to preventing crime among youths.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Understanding the Two Types of Violence

Chapter 2. Ecological Framework and Theoretical Perspectives of Youth Violence

Chapter 3. Community 

Chapter 4. Family 

Chapter 5. Peers and School 

Chapter 6. Youth Characteristics and the Individual 

Chapter 7. Applicability of Routine Activity Theory/Lifestyles Perspective to Youth Violence


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Dr. Eileen M. Ahlin is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Penn State Harrisburg. She uses an ecological framework to study violence to identify policies and practices that address risk and protective factors of youth violence among informal and formal social controls. Her work spans the community and institutional corrections. She was named a 2016 W.E.B. Du Bois Fellow by the National Institute of Justice, when she and Dr. Maria João Lobo Antunes were awarded a grant to examine how residential mobility influences violence among marginalized populations. Her recent research appears in Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Aggression and Violent Behavior, Race and Justice, and The Prison Journal. She is author or co-author of several books and edited volumes, including Taking Problem-Solving Courts to Scale: Diverse Applications of the Specialty Court Model (2021, Lexington), The Veterans Treatment Court Movement: Striving to Serve Those Who Served (2018, Routledge), and Rethinking America’s Correctional Policies: Commonsense Choices from Uncommon Voices (2017, Lexington). In 2020, Dr. Ahlin was the recipient of Penn State Harrisburg’s Excellence in Research and Scholarly Activity Award.

Dr. Maria João Lobo Antunes is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Criminal Justice at Towson University. She is a quantitative criminologist with specializations in juvenile delinquency and exposure to crime, immigrants and criminal justice, and the nexus of neighborhoods, parenting, and youth behaviors. Together with Dr. Eileen Ahlin, she is a 2016 recipient of the National Institute of Justice’s W. E. B. Du Bois Fellowship which focused on the how inner-city mobility influences minority and immigrant youth delinquency. Her most recent scholarship can be seen in Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Feminist Criminology, Aggression and Violent Behavior, Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, and Journal of Youth and Adolescence.