Exposure to community violence linked to violent behavior among minority adolescent men

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

As exposure to community violence increases for adolescent men of color, symptoms of depression subside and violent behaviors increase, according to new research published in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, a journal of the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. The results add evidence to a model demonstrating the desensitization to violence that can occur with greater exposure.

"Community violence disproportionately impacts minority teen boys; but until now, we weren't sure of the long-term effects of repeated exposure to violence on the mental health of these children," said Noni Gaylord-Harden, PhD, a lead author of the study and associate professor at Loyola University Chicago. "This study is unique because it is the first to test this theory of desensitization in a sample consisting entirely of males of color over a long period of time. As a result, we have gained valuable insight into the mental health implications of repeated exposure to violence for this vulnerable population, as well as the critical time points and factors for detection and prevention."

The study, co-authored by researchers at Loyola University Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago and University of Virginia, examined the associations between exposure to community violence, depressive symptoms and violent behavior among 285 African American and Latino male youths in Chicago for five consecutive years starting at fifth or seventh grade. All participants were from urban neighborhoods characterized by high violence and high poverty.

The researchers used the Pathologic Adaptation Model (PAM) to examine the emotional desensitization process that occurs in youth who are repeatedly exposed to community violence. PAM demonstrates that youth may initially express affective depressive symptoms, such as sadness, crying or feelings of worthlessness and guilt, but become emotionally numb to community violence as they witness more incidents. The findings also suggest that there is a positive association between violence exposure and subsequent violent behavior.

"These findings point to the importance of early identification of youth exposed to community violence in the formative early and middle adolescent years," said Gaylord-Harden. "Selective prevention programs are needed to address depressive symptoms and reduce potential violent or aggressive behaviors. Efforts to reduce the likelihood of these behaviors may, in turn, reduce rates of school suspension, expulsion, and incarceration in males of color."


The Reis Group


  1. James Reinhardt James Reinhardt United States says:

    They had to do research to figure this out? Why do so many have to do studies about what is common sense ? Perhaps they lack that commodity.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Prenatal cannabis use disorder linked to increased risk of neurodevelopmental disorders in offspring