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Urban African American Adolescents' Perceptions of Community Violence

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Objective: To investigate appraisal processes and coping strategies initiated by urban adolescents relative to violence exposure. Methods: Thirty-seven African American youth completed semistructured interviews, including assessment of means-ends problem-solving competence (MEPS). Results: Although perceptions of safety varied according to weapon-carrying/fighting status, staying locked inside one's home and maintaining a vigilance when dealing with others were identified as primary protective strategies. MEPS scores were not predictive of appraisal or coping processes. Youth were not expressive about emotional distress aroused by exposure. Conclusion: Further examination of how appraisal and coping efforts relate to prevention of violence and its negative psychosocial sequelae is needed.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5993/AJHB.26.1.6

Affiliations: 1: Department of Public and Community Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD. 2: Department of Pediatrics, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD.

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.
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