Future orientation, defined as hopes and aspirations for the future, is gaining promise as a cross-cutting protective factor against youth violence. Much of the research on future orientation and violence to date has used cross-sectional designs, assessed limited violence outcomes, and focused on youth in suburban settings. Seeking to better characterize associations between future orientation and interpersonal violence over time, we assessed how baseline future orientation longitudinally predicted multiple forms of violence among a sample of male youth residing in neighborhoods with concentrated disadvantage across Pittsburgh, PA.
Data were drawn from a recently completed sexual violence prevention trial among a sample of predominantly African American male adolescents, ages 13 to 19, living in areas with high levels of community violence. Future orientation was measured using seven items that encompassed excitement about one’s future, aspirational goal setting, and contributions to one’s community, with each item rated on a 5-point Likert scale. Youth and community violence measures included a past 9-month history of weapon violence, 3-month history of bullying, and lifetime history of gang involvement. Sexual/relationship violence measures included a past 9-month history of sexual harassment, non-partner sexual violence (SV), and intimate partner SV. We first performed a latent class analysis (LCA) to create baseline future orientation profiles of participants. Mixed effects logistic regression then assessed how baseline future orientation class related to each form of violence perpetration over time (baseline to follow-up). Models were adjusted for age, intervention group, race/ethnicity, and parental education.
There were 817 participants included in the analysis, with a mean age of 15.5 years (SD = 1.6 years). Most participants identified as Black, Non-Hispanic (74%). Nearly half of participants’ parents/caregivers did not graduate from high school (43%). Our LCA yielded four classes ranging from low to high future orientation, with nearly 80% of youth belonging to moderately-high and high future orientation classes. Levels of violence perpetration among youth were high, ranging from 4.8% perpetrating intimate partner SV to half (50.7%) bullying someone else. Future orientation latent class was significantly associated with weapon violence, bullying, sexual harassment, non-partner SV, and intimate-partner SV in adjusted models (all p<0.01). Compared to the low future orientation class, youth belonging to moderate-high and high future orientation classes were less likely to perpetrate weapon violence (Moderate-High: adjusted odds ratio [aOR]=0.45, 95% CI:[0.20, 1.13]; High: aOR=0.41, 95% CI:[0.18, 0.99]). Use of violence was consistently highest among youth in the low-moderate future orientation class.
This LCA identified several unique profiles of future orientation among male adolescents from disadvantaged neighborhoods with differing patterns of association with. multiple forms of violence. Identifying modifiable factors that contribute to lower future orientation and mechanisms for how future orientation influences use of violence is needed in youth violence prevention interventions.
Sources of Support
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Clinical Scientist Training Program - NIH UL1TR001857 (Scholar: Khetarpal), K23HD098277-01 (Culyba), U01CE002528 (Miller and Abebe).
© 2022 Published by Elsevier Inc.