Date of Award

2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Abstract

The goal of the present study was to further previous research that has focused on the detrimental outcomes of violence exposure by identifying the mechanisms that influence children's psychosocial vulnerabilities. Specifically, it examined emotion regulation as a possible mediator of community violence exposure to social adjustment. Moreover, because of the evidence that children living in inner city communities are chronically exposed to violence, this study longitudinally explored the reciprocal and perpetuating relationship between exposure to violence and child social maladjustment. Participants were 268 African American students (M age = 11.65 years, 40% males and 60% females) from six inner city Chicago public schools in high crime neighborhoods. Data was collected longitudinally for one week each year over three years using questionnaires and the Experience Sampling Method (ESM) . Hypotheses were tested using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). Results revealed that exposure to community violence was not consistently linked to social maladjustment and when the relationship between the variables was significant, it was more often in the opposite direction of what was hypothesized, such that children experiencing more violence exposure had lower levels of social maladjustment, particularly in the 8th grade. Although results did not suggest mediation, there was a strong relationship for both witnessing violence and violent victimization to emotion dysregulation. Overall, children who experienced greater community violence reported more difficulty regulating their

emotions. Finally, transactional results revealed that there are certain periods in development in which being more socially maladjusted may put a youth in risk for more exposure to violence. Results of the present study have important implications for interventions for inner-city youth exposed to violence.

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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