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Abstract

This paper highlights an examination of the relationship between perceptions of community and risk behavior exposure for youth in at-risk environments. Data were collected from 133 youth enrolled in after-school programs in two communities over a three-year period. The Youth Involved in Community Issues (YICI) survey assessed youth perceptions of community on four subscales measuring support, involvement, connectedness, and environment. The Social Behavioral Questionnaire (SBQ), with subscales of access, frequency of use, social behaviors, and neighborhood, asked participants to report risk behaviors that they saw occurring within their local area. Linear regression analysis indicated that youth community (overall score) predicted risk exposure in the areas of perceived friend behaviors and behaviors seen within their community. The results of this study indicate the importance of youth awareness of community in relation to risk behaviors observed within their communities.

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