Date of Defense

Fall 10-23-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ)


Sociology and Criminal Justice

Committee Chair

Beverly Reece

Committee Member

Tanja Link

Committee Member

Rebecca Petersen


Vast research has been conducted on exposure to violence and its consequences. Among the many consequences of exposure to violence is substance use. Using the Pathways to Desistance data, this study seeks to examine whether exposure to violence impacts substance use among adolescents, whether neighborhood social disorder impacts substance use, and whether exposure to violence mediates the relationship between neighborhood social disorder and substance use. The test of mediation on these variables has never been conducted before. Findings of these analyses revealed that exposure to violence as a victim and witness were both found to increase the frequency of alcohol and marijuana use among adolescents. Further, neighborhood social disorder was found to decrease frequency of cocaine use. Lastly, exposure to violence partially mediated the relationship between neighborhood social disorder and substance use. Based on the findings, future studies should further examine these relationships. Several policy implications can be made including collective efficacy, violence prevention programs, testing and screening for exposure to violence, and substance use programs.

Included in

Criminology Commons