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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Effects of Community Violence Exposure on Adolescents' Health

  • Author(s): Fairborn, Sara Katherine
  • Advisor(s): Guerra, Nancy G
  • et al.

The relations between community violence exposure (CVE) during adolescence and a selection of six co–occurring health related outcomes were investigated using data from The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). The mechanism by which CVE affected adolescent health was then examined through depression and self regulation. The health related outcomes comprised self-reported assessments of general health, physical problems, BMI (Body Mass Index), sleep problems, physical activity and sedentary behavior from approximately 14,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19. The adolescents were divided into a younger and older group with the break at 16 years and older; analyses were conducted separately for each age group and examined at two time points separated by one year. Hierarchical regression was used to examine the effects of CVE on adolescent health. The mediation pathways through depression and self regulation and whether these relations varied by gender were tested using multiple mediation analyses (Preacher & Hayes, 2008). Gender, socioeconomic status, and childhood maltreatment were entered as control variables. Findings indicated CVE affected all health related outcomes but were minimal for sedentary behavior and BMI. In general, both depression and self regulation mediated the effect of CVE on general health, physical problems, sleep, and physical activity. Moderating effects revealed CVE had a more adverse impact on sedentary behavior and BMI among females at the second time point.

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