Article

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 105-115

Adaptive Coping Reduces the Impact of Community Violence Exposure on Violent Behavior among African American and Latino Male Adolescents

  • Sonya S. BradyAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Health Psychology Program, University of California, San Francisco Email author 
  • , Deborah Gorman-SmithAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Institute for Juvenile Research, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • , David B. HenryAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Institute for Juvenile Research, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • , Patrick H. TolanAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Institute for Juvenile Research, University of Illinois at Chicago

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Abstract

This study examined whether coping moderated the impact of community violence exposure (CVE) on violent behavior among 285 urban African American and Latino adolescent males assessed annually across 5 years. Composites indicating overall CVE (having knowledge of others’ victimization, witnessing violence, direct victimization) and approach to coping with CVE were created by averaging across years 1–3 (Time 1; mean ages 14–16). Adolescents classified as coping effectively tended to respond to CVE in beneficial ways (e.g., developing long-term solutions, engaging in positive reappraisal). Violent behavior was examined across years 1–3 (Time 1) and years 4–5 (Time 2; mean ages 18–19). CVE was longitudinally associated with greater violent behavior, adjusting for Time 1 levels of violent behavior. This association was significant only among adolescents with less effective coping strategies. Interventions targeting the enhancement of coping skills may be an effective method of reducing the impact of CVE on adolescent violent behavior.

Keywords

Community violence Coping Adolescent African American Latino