Anger Mediates the Relation Between Violence Exposure and Violence Perpetration in Incarcerated Boys
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Youth who are exposed to violence are more likely to perpetrate violence. Incarcerated youth are a special population that is at a significantly greater risk for violent offending because of their relatively greater rates of violence exposure. Two important outcomes of violence exposure that may help explain its link with violence perpetration are posttraumatic stress disorder and problematic anger. The primary aim of the current study is to examine whether these important risk factors mediate the relation between two types of violence exposure (i.e., witnessing and victimization) and various types of violence perpetration in a sample of 373 incarcerated male adolescent offenders. A second aim is to test whether another well-established correlate of violence in youth, callous-unemotional (CU) traits (lack of empathy, guilt), adds unique variance beyond violence exposure, anger, and PTSD symptomatology. Findings suggest that anger is a robust predictor of violence and appears to at least partially act as the mechanism through which violence exposure is linked with violence perpetration. CU traits also contribute unique variance, beyond the significant effect of anger, to the statistical prediction of community, but not institutional, violence.