Chicago Youths’ Community Violence Exposure: Spatial Dynamics of Violence and Psychological Functioning

2019-08-01T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Andrea Daviera
This study explored where and when community violence exposure (CVE) matters for psychological functioning in a sample of low-income, racial/ethnic minority youth (M) age = 16.04, 53.3 % female, 65.8% Black, and 26.9% Hispanic) living in Chicago. CVE was measured with violent crime data that was geocoded in terms of distance from youths’ home and school addresses, then calculated in terms of three distinct spatial dynamics, including chronicity, pervasiveness, and spatial proximity. I tested the relationship between each CVE spatial dynamic and state and trait anxiety and behavioral and cognitive dysregulation while controlling for direct violent victimization (DVV) to examine how objective CVE occurring within youths’ neighborhood context matters beyond direct violence exposure. Results from hierarchical multiple regression analyses revealed that long-term chronic, pervasive, and spatially proximal CVE was related to increases in behavioral dysfunction while delineated home and school-based CVE interacted to predict trait anxiety. Measuring CVE within both home and school neighborhoods at specific spatial measurements and time frames is critical to understand and prevent the consequences of CVE. The results infer that mental health supports are needed for all youth who inhabit and attend schools in violent neighborhoods and not just those who are directly victimized.

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