Clarifying the effects of neighborhood context on violence "Behind closed doors"

Emily M. Wright, Michael L. Benson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Research on neighborhood-level effects on intimate partner violence (IPV) has expanded significantly in the past two decades. However, to date, studies have been unable to disentangle compositional and contextual effects on IPV and have rarely considered the social mechanisms that might link neighborhood conditions to IPV. Using data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, this study considers individual and contextual influences on violence between partners, and examines the effects of disadvantage and collective efficacy on this type of behavior. Results indicate that neighborhood disadvantage significantly increases and collective efficacy significantly decreases IPV after controlling for individual-level correlates. Our findings add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that as with street crime, neighborhood disadvantage also exacerbates rates of IPV. However, unlike street crime, the impact of disadvantage on IPV does not appear to be mediated by collective efficacy. Understanding how collective efficacy affects violence between partners remains an open issue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)775-798
Number of pages24
JournalJustice Quarterly
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Collective efficacy
  • Domestic violence
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Neighborhood disadvantage
  • Social disorganization theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Clarifying the effects of neighborhood context on violence "Behind closed doors"'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this