Child Psychiatry & Human Development

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 516–524 | Cite as

Cross-Cultural Findings on Community Violence Exposure and Internalizing Psychopathology: Comparing Adolescents in the United States, Russia, and Belgium

  • Mary Schwab-Stone
  • Roman Koposov
  • Robert Vermeiren
  • Vladislav Ruchkin
Original Article


The study aimed to investigate cross-cultural differences in the relation between community violence and psychopathology. A self-report survey was conducted in a representative sample of 3,309 14–17 year old adolescents from urban communities in the US (N = 1,343), Belgium (N = 946) and Russia (N = 1,009). In all three countries, boys reported higher prevalences of violence exposure and more victimization by community violence than girls. Controlling for involvement in antisocial behavior, levels of psychopathology increased along with severity of exposure to community violence (from no exposure to witnessing to victimization). The associations between community violence and internalizing problems were similar across countries and gender. Current findings suggest that the relationships between community violence and adolescent mental health are not culture bound and that they follow similar dynamics in different populations. Clinical implications and directions are discussed.


Violence exposure Psychopathology Cross-cultural Adolescents 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Schwab-Stone
    • 1
  • Roman Koposov
    • 2
  • Robert Vermeiren
    • 3
    • 4
  • Vladislav Ruchkin
    • 1
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Child Study CenterYale University Medical SchoolNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Regional Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental HealthUniversity of TromsøTromsøNorway
  3. 3.Section of Child PsychiatryFree University Medical CenterAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of LawUniversity of LeidenLeidenThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Division of Neuroscience, Department of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  6. 6.Säter Forensic Psychiatric ClinicSäterSweden

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