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Assessing the Acute Effects of Exposure to Community Violence among Adolescents: A Strategic Comparison Approach

NCJ Number
Social Science Research Volume: 121 Dated: July 2024 Pages: 103026  
Date Published
July 2024

The authors report on survey response data from urban youth in order to determine the impact of geographically close homicides on a variety of psychosocial outcomes; they describe their research, which relied on a strategic comparison approach, and discuss results.


This paper examines whether exposure to spatially proximate homicide affects norms, attitudes, and the adaptive strategies adolescents take to insulate themselves from violent victimization. Drawing on survey data from a large sample of urban youth (n = 3195), the authors assess the impact of homicides occurring within a one-mile radius of respondents’ homes on a variety of psychosocial outcomes. They exploit random variation in the timing of survey administration to compare the survey responses of youths who were exposed to a homicide in the immediate vicinity of their homes in the one-month period leading up the administration of the survey with students who did not experience a homicide near their homes during that period but would the following month. This strategic comparison approach minimizes the confounding influence of endogenous processes that funnel children and families into places where homicides tend to concentrate. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: July 1, 2024