Date of Award

2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Abstract

The broad purpose of the study was to investigate the relationship between exposure to community violence and adjustment in an urban sample of African American youth living in Chicago. After years of research on community violence, there has been a call to understand the influences of all levels and systems on child adjustment, as well as to use research to promote positive outcomes and prevention of future violence (Aisenberg & Herrenkohl, 2008). With this in mind, this project used latent profile analysis to create profiles of protection based on individual, family, peer, and community factors, as well as evaluate the extent to which these factors interact to contribute to the adjustment, both cross-sectionally and longitudinally, in youth exposed to community violence. The current study was conducted using an archival dataset of a larger longitudinal study (Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods) examining on exposure to community violence, and what contributes to it, as well as the effects of exposure.

Results suggested a 2-class solution of protective factors best described the African American participants in the study. The largest class (75.51% of the sample) was characterized by higher levels across most protective factors and was labeled as “Higher Protection.” The second class was labeled as “Lower Protection,” and was characterized by lower levels of protective factors, especially the factors of Emotion Regulation, Parental Monitoring, and Family Cohesion. While the Higher Protection class had lower levels of internalizing and externalizing symptoms, as reported by parents, at Wave 1, class membership did not significantly predict to differences in parent-reported internalizing or externalizing symptoms or PTSD symptoms at Waves 2 and 3. While this was contrary to expectations, class membership did significantly predict youth-reported internalizing and externalizing symptoms at Wave 2, with the Higher Protection group having lower levels of symptoms. Finally, moderation analyses revealed several significant interactions between class membership and both victimization and witnessing community violence predicting to outcomes, suggesting that profiles found in this study were important in understanding resilience in this population. The implications of these findings and how they can serve as a guide to future research and intervention are discussed.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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