Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


The purpose of this exploratory qualitative study is to determine the perspectives of African American males pertaining to their beliefs about the prominent influential factors within their communities that are leading to the rise of youth violence. This study was undertaken to further explore the phenomenon of youth violence and to give a voice to the participants allowing them to share their experiences of living in a high crime urban neighborhood. Narratives were gathered from twelve African American males between the ages of 18 and 25, using a structured self-designed interview guide. Participants were asked about youth violence, the characteristics of the city of Springfield, their beliefs about contributing factors, their thoughts about the "code of silence", and suggestions for implementing change. The findings of the research showed that the males identified gaining or wanting respect, drugs, gangs, and poverty, in chronological order, as the prominent factors leading to youth violence. The results also confirmed that young black males are internalizing oppression and living by the code of silence as a means of feeling safe within their communities.


iv, 90 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2007. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 81-83).