Schools, Subcultural Values, and the Risk of Youth Violence: The Influence of the Code of the Street among Students in Three U.S. Cities

Lorine A. Hughes, Ekaterina V. Botchkovar, Olena Antonaccio, Anastasiia Timmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Little is known about the role of subcultural values in the development of violence in schools and among school-aged children. Drawing on the “code of the street” thesis, which identifies schools as important staging grounds in the campaign for respect among young people, this study aims to fill this gap in the literature by analyzing student- and school-level associations between projected violence and self-reported subcultural values revolving around toughness and respect. The analytic sample includes N = 1767 students (53.65% female) in grades 7, 8, and 9 (ages 11–17 years, mean = 13.5 years) at 40 middle and high schools in Boston, MA, Denver, CO, and Miami, FL. Consistent with research involving a variety of adolescent and young adult populations, estimates from multilevel negative binomial regression models reveal a robust positive student-level association between personal adherence to subcultural values and projected violence. However, school-level results indicate a compositional, rather than contextual, effect in which higher school-mean levels of projected violence reflect the aggregate values of individual students rather than independent or interactive processes involving the school-level prevalence of code of the street values. Thus, while code of the street values may be important contributors to youth violence, the school setting appears to play a limited role in transmitting their influence among students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Adolescent Violence
  • Code of the Street
  • Schools
  • Subculture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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