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Protective factors for violence perpetration in Somali young adults: The role of community belonging and neighborhood cohesion


Psychology and ViolenceCommunity cohesion is brought up in many discussions of how to prevent radicalisation. Whilst this article does not assess the effects of community cohesion on radicalisation it does provide interesting data on how it is an important factor in relation to youth violence. These findings could provide a useful insight for people seeking to understand how to better prevent violent extremism.

Journal abstract

Objective: To examine violence perpetration among Somali young adults and the potential for community belonging and neighborhood cohesion to serve as protective influences. Method: Somalis (N = 374) living in 4 North America cities completed verbally administered standardized instruments assessing trauma, neighborhood cohesion, Somali belongingness, and violence perpetration. Results: Younger age and greater time in the U.S./Canada were independently associated with increased odds of violence perpetration, and those who had experienced high levels of trauma (as compared with those with moderate or low trauma exposure) were significantly more likely to commit violence. Furthermore, higher Somali community belonging was associated with a significant reduction in the odds of violence perpetration when neighborhood cohesion was low but an increased odds of violence perpetration when cohesion was high. Conclusions: Neighborhood cohesion and community belonging are both important factors in relation to youth violence. In the context of low neighborhood cohesion, Somali communities may benefit from examining ways of bringing alienated youth back into the community. Efforts to reengage with ostracized youth and extend the same kind of protective cultural resources that benefit those youth who experience higher levels of belonging may be beneficial to both the youth and the communities in which they live.

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