Nativity and Hispanic Victimization: An Examination of Mediating and Moderating Effects
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This dissertation contributes to an emerging literature in criminology with a thorough examination of the effects of nativity (foreign-born vs. native-born) on violent victimization among Hispanic and non-Hispanic youth. Specifically, this study focuses on theoretical explanations for differences in violent victimization risk across Hispanic generations. For example, it is hypothesized that the link between nativity and violent victimization may be mediated by various social bonds (e.g., maternal/paternal attachment, time with mothers and fathers, and school attachment). In an effort to address the shortcomings of previous research, this study utilizes more refined measures of social bond variables to examine how Hispanic nativity affects the likelihood of a youth experiencing violent victimization.
Data for this dissertation come from the public use version of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health; Harris, 2009), a longitudinal study of the role of social environments on behavior and psychological development of children and adolescents (Udry, 2003). The researchers collected data from students enrolled in American middle schools and high schools across the United States, ranging from Grades 7-12 at Wave 1 (Udry, 2003). Researchers collected data in four waves. The analysis sample was taken from Waves 1 and 2, with respondents ranging in age from 9 to 16.
The analysis compares native-born Hispanics, foreign-born Hispanics, and non-Hispanic youth. The Hispanic sample is comprised of multiple Hispanic sub-groups, which include Mexicans, Chicanos, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and Central/South Americans. However, this study examines Hispanics as a single group (i.e., foreign-born and native-born Hispanics) rather than Hispanic subgroups.
The findings presented in the current study were largely inconsistent with predictions. Most important, social bonds did not tend to mediate the link between nativity and violent victimization. The findings do, however, support existing research (Eggers & Jennings, 2013; Miller, 2014; Reingle, Jennings, & Maldonado-Molina, 2011) as that native-born Hispanics are at a greater violent victimization risk compared to non-Hispanics and foreign-born Hispanics. Overall, this study presents many avenues to be further explored as possible explanations for differences in Hispanic and non-Hispanic victimization.