here - Life Paths Research Program

Beyond Collective Efficacy: Community Measures as Predictors of Victimization
Lindsey Thomas, Sherry Hamby, Victoria Banyard, & John Grych
The relationship between social support and
victimization has been studied extensively;
however, community measures assessing the
outer layers of the social ecology have received
much less attention, particularly as a means of
predicting victimization. Participants from a
Southern region completed a survey as part of
a larger study on character development and
personal strength. Using linear regression,
Collective Efficacy, Support for Community
Youth, and Social Support all showed unique
contributions to variance in victimization. The
Informal Community Support measure,
however, was not a statistically significant
predictor of victimization. The significant
predictive power of the community measures
suggests that the outer layers of the social
ecology should be assessed and considered
when looking at victimization. Likewise,
community characteristics should be further
investigated as potential risk factors or as
protective factors relating to victimization.
Social support has been studied as a
potential protective factor for victims (and
witnesses) of violence (Scarpa, 2006), but
these studies are typically limited to
immediate dyadic relationships (family,
friends, etc.).
• The outer layers of the social ecology and
community ties, particularly their potential
for predicting victimization, are not often
• Informal community support and support for
community youth are two aspects of
communities that are not captured in many
existing measures. To better assess these
facets, we included two new, brief measures
along with the well-established measure of
collective efficacy.
Sewanee: the University of the South, University of New Hampshire, Marquette University
Participants. Our community sample includes
1706 participants from a rural, low-income
Southern region. Ages range from 11 to 70 years
old (M=29.3 years; SD=12.3 years), and 63% of
participants are female. The majority (78%) of
our sample is White.
Procedure. As part of a larger study on character
development and personal strength, participants
completed a confidential and anonymous
computer-assisted self-interview (CASI). The
majority (81%) of participants were recruited at
community events throughout the region, such
as local festivals or arts and craft fairs. All
participants received a $30 Walmart gift card as
compensation for their time.
Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire (JVQ)—Key
Domains. The JVQ is used in the National Survey
of Children’s Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV).
An abbreviated version of key domains was used
here that assessed: Assault, Peer Victimization,
Exposure to Family Violence, Parent-Child
Dysfunction, and Witnessed Violence (Hamby et
al., 2004).
Collective Efficacy (CE). The Neighborhood
Collective Efficacy Index (Sampson et al., 1997)
measures social cohesion and the willingness of
neighbors to intervene to control delinquency.
Informal Community Support (ICS). This scale
uses 5 items to assess both tangible and intangible
means of community support. It was adapted from
a survey used by the U.S. Air Force (2011).
Social Support (SS). This scale includes 4 items
from Zimet et al., (1988) and 6 items from
NatSCEV (Turner et al., 2010) that assess
perceived social support from one’s immediate
social network.
• Our model combined two measures of wellestablished constructs—social support and
collective efficacy—with two new measures
that assess different facets of community
support. Three of these measures were
significant predictors of victimization.
All predictors variables showed significant
negative correlations with the JVQ, with r
ranging from -.13 to -.20. See Table 1.
The three community measures all showed
significant positive correlations with each other
and with social support, with r ranging from .31
to .57. See Table 1.
Table 1. Correlations Among Measures
-.13*** .57***
-.16*** .43***
-.20*** .31***
*P<.05; **P<.01; ***P<.001
Multiple Linear Regression revealed that
Collective Efficacy, Support for Community
Youth, and Social Support were all significant
predictors of victimization. See Table 2.
Informal Community Support, however, was
not a statistically significant predictor of
victimization. See Table 2.
Table 2. Multiple Regression Analyses of
Community Measures and Social Support as
Predictors of Victimization
Support for Community Youth (SCY). This brief
measures (2 items) is also adapted from the U.S.
Air Force (2011), and it measures community
support available specifically to youth (ages 1018).
• The statistically significant predictive power
of collective efficacy and support for
community youth suggests that the outer
layers of the social ecology should be
considered when studying violence and
victimization. Both of these constructs
could be potentially malleable
characteristics and potentially affect most, if
not all, members of a given community.
• Although the R2 was relatively low, the
broad impact of community characteristics
still make them a potentially useful target of
prevention and intervention.
• A potential limitation of our model could be
multicollinearity. When regressions were
run separately for each community measure,
informal community support was a
significant predictor.
• Future research could further explore
interrelationships of these dimensions and
whether different aspects of community are
differentially associated with certain types
of violence and victimization differently.
Hamby, S., Finkelhor, D., Ormrod, R., & Turner, H. (2004). The Juvenile Victimization
Questionnaire (JVQ): Administration and scoring manual. Durham, NH: Crimes
Against Children Research Center.
Sampson, R. J., Raudenbush, S. W., & Earls, F. (1997). Neighborhoods and violent crime: A
multilevel study of collective efficacy. Science, 277(5328), 918-924.
Scarpa, A., & Haden, S. C. (2006). Community violence victimization and aggressive
behavior: The moderating effects of coping and social support. Aggressive Behavior,
32(5), 502-515.
Turner, H. A., Finkelhor, D., & Ormrod, R. (2010). Poly-victimization in a national sample of
children and youth. American journal of preventive medicine, 38(3), 323-330.
U.S. Air Force (2011). 2011 U.S. Air Force Community Assessment: Survey data codebook.
Lackland Air Force Base, TX.
Zimet, G. D., Dahlem, N. W., Zimet, S. G., & Farley, G. K. (1988). The multidimensional
scale of perceived social support. Journal of personality assessment, 52(1), 30-41.
*P<.05; **P<.01; ***P<.001
The overall model fit was R2 =.054
This project was made possible through the support
of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.
The opinions expressed in this project are those of
the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views
of the John Templeton Foundation.
I grew up with everybody, and everybody always kind of took care of everybody. If
someone needed a cup of sugar or if someone needed their yard mowed and their
lawnmower was broken, they’d mow our yard and their yard. You didn’t have to worry….
We had really good neighbors.