Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Background: Exposure to community violence (ECV; direct victimization and witnessing) can predict negative outcomes for youth such as posttraumatic stress (PTSS) and juvenile delinquent behavior (JDB). Psychosocial reactions to violence can be different based on gender. Predictors of ECV in youth is less understood. This study aims to explore potential chronic pathways between initial ECV and continued ECV for early adolescents. The relationship between ECV as a predictor and ECV as an outcome is hypothesized to be mediated by both PTSS and JDB and moderated by gender. Method: A total of 266 African-American, sixth grade students in high crime, high poverty areas, were recruited for three-year participation in this study (M= 11.65, 59% female). Participants completed self-report surveys at baseline, then 12-months and 24-months after the initial questionnaire was administered. Results: Moderated serial mediation was used to assess the longitudinal associations. For all witnessing models, JDB at Time 3 significantly predicted ECV-witnessing at Time 3 for the whole sample. Gender moderated several paths. For girls, more ECV-witnessing at Time 1 led to increased PTSS at Time 2 and increased JDB at Time 3. For the PTSS subscales models, among girls, more ECV-witnessing at Time 1 led to increased PTSS-hyperarousal and increased PTSS-intrusion symptoms at Time 2. Posthoc analyses confirmed these findings; analyses also indicated that PTSS-hyperarousal at Time 2 significantly predicted ECV-witnessing at Time 3 for girls only subsample. ECV-witnessing at Time 1 significantly predicted JDB at Time 3 which significantly predicted ECV-witnessing at Time 3. Conclusion: Results contribute to our understanding of the trajectory of ECV-witnessing and the roles both PTSS subscales and JDB play in that trajectory, especially among girls.

Creative Commons License

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