Awarded New Investigator/Doctoral Dissertation Grant

Reducing Violence/Victimization in Assaulted Urban Youth

FOA Number: CE03-036 – Grants for Dissertation Awards for Doctoral Candidates for Violence-Related Injury Prevention Research
Project Period: 9/30/2003 – 9/29/2005
Application/Grant Number: R49/CCR523270-01
Principal Investigator: Michael R. McCart,
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,
Milwaukee, WI


Adolescent assault victims are known to show increased rates of aggressive behavior, which places them at increased risk for violent behavior and/or further victimization. This situation is especially salient for African-American males who are more likely than any other ethnic and gender group to experience violent crime (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2000). A number of interventions are available to reduce violence by treating youths’ aggressive behavior, but most have been developed for and evaluated with Caucasian youth. This points to the critical need for research on effective violence prevention programs with minority populations. The aim of this study is to use a randomized clinical trial to examine the effectiveness of a culturally-sensitive, group-based violence intervention package for a sample of “African American” males (ages 14-17) assaulted by violence. This package combines the best elements of existing cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and behavioral parent training (BPT) programs for reducing youth violence and victimization. Youth and their parents will be randomly assigned to either the combined intervention or a BPT intervention only. Baseline, post-intervention, and two-month follow-up assessments will be used to examine the effects of the interventions on youths’ aggressive behavior and prosocial competence. The study also aims to explore whether the effectiveness of this intervention package is moderated by comorbid post-traumatic stress symptoms. Research has identified a relationship between aggressive behavior and post-traumatic stress symptoms among youth living in violent urban communities. The study will examine whether these comorbid psychiatric symptoms affect treatment outcome. The study supports Healthy People 2010 and the CDC Injury Research Agenda objectives on reducing violence by developing, implementing, and evaluating an intervention to decrease aggressive behavior among at-risk minority male youth.