Gender and serious violence: Untangling the role of friendship sex composition and peer violence

Dana L. Haynie, Darrell Steffensmeier, Kerryn E. Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Applying insights from social influence literature, in combination with key elements of gender organization and socialization, the effect of friendship sex composition and exposure to peer violence on girls' and boys' involvement in serious violence is examined. It is hypothesized that the impact of opposite-sex friendships on violence will differ for female youth compared to male youth. The exceptionally detailed friendship network data available in the Add Health for a sample of adolescents (N = 14,044) is used to examine these hypotheses. Findings are supportive of hypotheses and indicate that exposure to opposite-sex friends increases females' odds of engaging in serious violence but operate to reduce males' involvement in serious violence. In addition, among females, peer influence is magnified as the proportion of opposite sex friends increases in their friendship network. In contrast, among males, exposure to opposite sex friends does not operate to suppress (or magnify) the effect of peer exposure to violence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-253
Number of pages19
JournalYouth Violence and Juvenile Justice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Law


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