Toward a Stress Process Model of Children’s Exposure to Physical Family and Community Violence

Article

Abstract

Theoretically informed models are required to further the comprehensive understanding of children’s ETV. We draw on the stress process paradigm to forward an overall conceptual model of ETV (ETV) in childhood and adolescence. Around this conceptual model, we synthesize research in four dominant areas of the literature which are detailed but often disconnected including: (1) exposure to three forms of physical violence (e.g., child physical maltreatment, interparental violence, and community ETV); (2) the multilevel correlates and causes of ETV (e.g., neighborhood characteristics including concentrated disadvantage; family characteristics including socio-economic status and family stressors); (3) a range of consequences of ETV (e.g., internalizing and externalizing mental health problems, role transitions, and academic outcomes); and (4) multilevel and cross domain mediators and moderators of ETV influences (e.g., school and community factors, family social support, and individual coping resources). We highlight the range of interconnected processes through which violence exposures may influence children and suggest opportunities for prevention and intervention. We further identify needed future research on children’s ETV including coping resources as well as research on cumulative contributions of violence exposure, violence exposure modifications, curvilinearity, and timing of exposure.

Keywords

Children Exposure to violence Stressors Mental health problems 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful for the support for this research through NICHD Grant #R01-HD049796-01. We thank Drs. Christopher Browning, Margo Gardner, and John Hagan for their comments.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  2. 2.Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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