Author ORCID Identifier

Dexter R. Voisin

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Objective: Broken windows theory has been applied in public health to understand how neighborhood disadvantage contributes to health risk and disparities. This longitudinal study examined the relationship between a broken windows index (i.e., a proxy for neighborhood disadvantage) and sexual behaviors and whether sexual sensation-seeking behaviors and parental monitoring moderated that relationship. Method: Participants were 188 African American adolescent girls incarcerated in a short-term detention facility in Atlanta, GA. Participants completed audio computer-assisted self-interviews at baseline, 3, and 6 months; interviews assessed neighborhood disadvantage, sexual risk behaviors, sexual sensation seeking, parental monitoring, and demographics. Results: Longitudinal findings indicate that the broken windows index was associated with risky sexual behaviors (e.g., condomless sex and sex while using drugs). Parental monitoring (i.e., knowledge of child activities and friends) moderated the relationship between broken windows and sexual risk behaviors. Conclusion: Future interventions should address underlying mechanisms linking structural disadvantage to sexual behaviors.


African American girls, broken windows theory, juvenile detention, parental monitoring, sexual sensation seeking

Publication Title

Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research





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© 2022 Society for Social Work and Research. All rights reserved. Published by The University of Chicago Press for the Society for Social Work and Research.


10.1086/719855" data-hide-no-mentions="true">
10.1086/719855" data-hide-zero-citations="true" data-style="small_circle">

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