Objective: Because of the evidence that children living in inner city communities are chronically exposed to violence, the goal of the present study was to longitudinally explore the reciprocal and perpetuating relationship between exposure to violence and child social maladjustment. Method: Participants were 268 African American students (M age=11.65 years, 40% males and 60% females) from six inner city Chicago public schools in high crime neighborhoods. Data was collected longitudinally over three years on measures of demographic information, exposure to community violence, and social adjustment. It was hypothesized that high levels of exposure to community violence, would be related to higher reports of social maladjustment (both cross-sectionally and longitudinally) and these variables would interact transactionally, leading to a greater risk of exposure to violence. Results: These hypotheses were tested using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) and results revealed that exposure to community violence was not consistently linked to social maladjustment. Transactional results revealed that there are certain periods in development in which being more socially maladjusted may put a youth in risk for more exposure to violence. Conclusions: Results of the present study have important implications for interventions for inner-city youth exposed to violence.
- Community violence
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health