Nonviolent factors: Variables associated with ethnic violence, and factors which are associated with nonviolent response to grievances toward members of other ethnic groups

Rosalie Neal Richards, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Ethnic violence appears to be the major source of violence in the world. Ethnic hostilities are potentially all-pervasive because most countries in the world are multi-ethnic. Public health's focus on violence documents its increasing role in this issue. The present study is based on a secondary analysis of a dataset of responses by 272 individuals from four ethnic groups (Anglo, African, Mexican, and Vietnamese Americans) who answered questions regarding variables related to ethnic violence from a general questionnaire which was distributed to ethnically diverse purposive, nonprobability, self-selected groups of individuals in Houston, Texas, in 1993. One goal was psychometric: learning about issues in analysis of datasets with modest numbers, comparison of two approaches to dealing with missing observations not missing at random (conducting analysis on two datasets), transformation analysis of continuous variables for logistic regression, and logistic regression diagnostics. Regarding the psychometric goal, it was concluded that measurement model analysis was not possible with a relatively small dataset with nonnormal variables, such as Likert-scaled variables; therefore, exploratory factor analysis was used. The two approaches to dealing with missing values resulted in comparable findings. Transformation analysis suggested that the continuous variables were in the correct scale, and diagnostics that the model fit was adequate. The substantive portion of the analysis included the testing of four hypotheses. Hypothesis One proposed that attitudes/efficacy regarding alternative approaches to resolving grievances from the general questionnaire represented underlying factors: nonpunitive social norms and strategies for addressing grievances--using the political system, organizing protests, using the system to punish offenders, and personal mediation. Evidence was found to support all but one factor, nonpunitive social norms. Hypothesis Two proposed that the factor variables and the other independent variables--jail, grievance, male, young, and membership in a particular ethnic group--were associated with (non)violence. Jail, grievance, and not using the political system to address grievances were associated with a greater likelihood of intergroup violence. No evidence was found to support Hypotheses Three and Four, which proposed that grievance and ethnic group membership would interact with other variables (i.e., age, gender, etc.) to produce variant levels of subgroup (non)violence. The generalizability of the results of this study are constrained by the purposive self-selected nature of the sample and small sample size (n = 272). Suggestions for future research include incorporating other possible variables or factors predictive of intergroup violence in models of the kind tested here, and the development and evaluation of interventions that promote electoral and nonelectoral political participation as means of reducing interethnic conflict.

Subject Area

Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology|Criminology|Social psychology

Recommended Citation

Richards, Rosalie Neal, "Nonviolent factors: Variables associated with ethnic violence, and factors which are associated with nonviolent response to grievances toward members of other ethnic groups" (1996). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9736144.