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The Relation of Severity and Type of Community Violence Exposure to Emotional Distress and Problem Behaviors Among Urban African American Adolescents

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Severity level and type of exposure to community violence were examined to determine their effect on emotional distress and problem behaviors among 234 low-income urban African American early adolescents. There were 4 violence exposure scales developed from a principal component analysis of the Richters and Martinez (1993) exposure to violence scale: moderate and severe witnessing and moderate and severe victimization. Regression analyses indicated that moderate victimization was the most consistent predictor of emotional distress and behavioral problems, whereas moderate witnessing did not relate to any of the dependent variables. Severe victimization predicted depression and delinquency, whereas severe witnessing predicted posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and delinquency. Witnessing and victimization scales based on severity of exposure better represented the experience than combining all data into a single exposure or simply witnessing and victimization scales.
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Keywords: ADOLESCENTS; AFRICAN AMERICAN; BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS; VIOLENCE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2015

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