Longitudinal Trajectory of Adolescent Exposure to Community Violence and Depressive Symptoms Among Adolescents and Young Adults: Understanding the Effect of Mental Health Service Usage
Research on the impact of exposure to community violence tends to define victimization as a single construct. This study differentiates between direct and indirect violence victimization in their association with mental health problems and mental health service use. This study includes 8947 individuals from four waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health and examines (1) whether sub-types of adolescent victimization are linked to depressive symptoms; (2) whether adolescent victimization is linked with mental health service use; and (3) the role of mental health service use in attenuating symptoms arising from victimizations. Adolescents witnessing community violence were more likely to experience depressive symptoms during adolescence but not during their young adulthood; direct exposure to violence during adolescence does not predict depressive symptoms in adolescence but does in adulthood. Use of mental health service mediates report of depressive symptoms for adolescent witnessing community violence.