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Violent Offending And Victimization In Adolescence: Social Network Mechanisms And Homophily*



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Although violent offending and victimization share many features, they can affect adolescent social relationships in distinct ways. To understand these differences, we take a network approach to examine the mechanisms responsible for similarities (i.e., homophily) in violent offending and violent victimization among friends. Our goal is to determine whether the social network mechanisms that produce homophily for violent offending are similar to or different from those that produce homophily for violent victimization. By using stochastic actor‐oriented modeling and two waves of friendship network data for 1,948 respondents from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, we examine homophily mechanisms of preference for similarity, avoidance, and influence with respect to youth violence and victimization. The results demonstrate that homophily observed for violent offending primarily reflects selection of similar others, whereas homophily observed for victimization reflects the tendency among alters to avoid victimized youth. These findings have important implications for future research and suggest that, among adolescents, violent offending and victimization homophily are the result of unique social processes.