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Spatio-Temporal Assessment of Exposure to Neighborhood Violence

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2013
60 pages
This study estimated both the acute and enduring consequences of exposure to neighborhood violence.
The study found that adolescents exposed to violence were significantly more likely to exhibit clinical levels of aggression than otherwise similar individuals who were not exposed to violence. There was no difference between the groups in anxiety and depression, however. In addition, the study determined that exposure to violence during the 12 months prior to wave 2 of the study was predictive of aggression measured over 2 1/2 years later at wave 3, thus suggesting the enduring effect of exposure to violence as measured by aggressive behavior. The study recommends further research that will examine why exposure to violence has such an enduring effect on aggression, even when the exposure to violence has passed. Data for this research were obtained from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN), a multi-wave longitudinal data collection that assesses individuals and their families throughout child and adolescent development, as well as their neighborhood context. The analysis focused on the 12-year-old and 15-year-old cohorts. These youths were approximately 18 and 21 years old by the end of the data collection in 2002. These two cohorts responded to questions at each of three waves of data collection. The questions solicited self-reported information on aggression, anxiety, and depression. Data were also obtained on family structure and parental supervision, peer characteristics, and criminal offending. Mediating mechanisms were examined for explanations as to why exposure to violence might affect youths' mental health. Propensity-score matching combined with a sensitivity analysis identified the independent relationship between exposure to violence and both internalizing (anxiety and depression) and externalizing (aggression) problems. 5 tables, 2 figures, 80 references, and appended supplementary data

Date Published: May 1, 2013