Culture as Values or Culture in Action? Street Codes and Student Violent Offending

Kristin Swartz, Pamela Wilcox, Graham C. Ousey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The authors draw on two competing cultural perspectives—culture as values and culture in action—to examine the relationship between street codes and the propensity to violently victimize others. Specifically, they explore whether individual-level and school-level street codes, net of one another, are related to 3 types of violence: assault, robbery, and sexual battery. In addition, they consider whether these effects vary according to 3 contextual characteristics: (a) the location of the offending—in school versus out of school, (b) school-level economic disadvantage, and (c) school efficacy. Three-level ordinal logistic regression models are estimated using four waves of survey data from over 3,000 students nested within 103 schools. Results provide evidence that individual-level street codes are related to violent offending in a manner that is, largely speaking, not tied to context. However, there is some evidence that the effects of school-level street codes on offending differ between outside of school and in school settings and are conditioned by levels of school disadvantage and efficacy. Overall, some support is offered for both the culture-as-values and culture-in-action perspectives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)868-890
Number of pages23
JournalVictims and Offenders
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Law


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