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Using Police Data to Measure Children's Exposure to Neighborhood Violence: A New Method for Evaluating Relations Between Exposure and Mental Health

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Studies have identified a robust association between children's exposure to violence and their mental health. Yet, most of this research has been based on self-reported exposure and self-reported mental health. In this study, we used a new, map-based method via police data for measuring children's exposure to violent crime and compared it to child self-reports and parent reports of exposure. Results suggest that child self-reports of violence exposure may not be valid except for exposure to murder, but police and parent reports of violent crime can reveal interesting relations between violence and mental health. Children showed higher levels of internalizing problems in the absence of police-reported murder and parent-reported robbery. Discussion emphasizes implications for measurement as well as theory building.
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Keywords: CHILDREN; EXPOSURE; MENTAL HEALTH; NEIGHBORHOOD; VIOLENT CRIME

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2014

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