Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 95–107

Growing Up in Violent Communities: Do Family Conflict and Gender Moderate Impacts on Adolescents’ Psychosocial Development?

  • Lorraine M. McKelvey
  • Leanne Whiteside-Mansell
  • Robert H. Bradley
  • Patrick H. Casey
  • Nicola A. Conners-Burrow
  • Kathleen W. Barrett
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10802-010-9448-4

Cite this article as:
McKelvey, L.M., Whiteside-Mansell, L., Bradley, R.H. et al. J Abnorm Child Psychol (2011) 39: 95. doi:10.1007/s10802-010-9448-4

Abstract

This study examined the moderating effects of family conflict and gender on the relationship between community violence and psychosocial development at age 18. The study sample consisted of 728 children and families who were part of the Infant Health and Development Program study of low-birth-weight, pre-term infants. In this sample, adolescent psychosocial outcomes were predicted by community violence differently for male and female children and based on their experiences of conflict at home. For male children, being in a high conflict family as a child exacerbated the negative effects of community violence such that internalizing problems (depression and anxiety) and risk-taking behaviors increased as community violence increased, while being in a low conflict family protected the child against the negative impacts of the community. For female adolescents, there were no moderating effects of family conflict on the relationship between community violence and externalizing problems. Moderating effects for internalizing problems demonstrated that being in low conflict families did not serve as protection against community violence for girls as was demonstrated for boys. These findings demonstrate the long-term effects of community violence on child development, highlighting the importance of gender and family context in the development of internalizing and externalizing problems.

Keywords

Community violence Family conflict Child gender 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lorraine M. McKelvey
    • 1
    • 3
  • Leanne Whiteside-Mansell
    • 1
  • Robert H. Bradley
    • 2
  • Patrick H. Casey
    • 1
  • Nicola A. Conners-Burrow
    • 1
  • Kathleen W. Barrett
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity of Arkansas for Medical SciencesLittle RockUSA
  2. 2.School of Social and Family DynamicsArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  3. 3.University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Partners for Inclusive CommunitiesNorth Little RockUSA

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