Bidirectional Influences of Violence Exposure and Adjustment in Early Adolescence: Externalizing Behaviors and School Connectedness

Abstract

This study utilized cross-lagged longitudinal models to examine prospective, bidirectional relationships between witnessing violence and victimization and three adjustment variables—delinquency, conduct problems, and school connectedness. Participants included 603 early adolescent boys and girls (78% African American, 20% Caucasian). Witnessing violence was related to subsequent lower levels of school connectedness and more conduct problems. For Caucasian but not African American adolescents, witnessing violence also predicted later delinquency. Victimization was linked with lower school connectedness over time, and for boys but not girls also with more conduct problems. Only adolescent delinquency was associated with subsequent witnessing violence and victimization.

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Correspondence to Sylvie Mrug.

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This research was partially supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Grant No. R49–CCR418569.

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Mrug, S., Windle, M. Bidirectional Influences of Violence Exposure and Adjustment in Early Adolescence: Externalizing Behaviors and School Connectedness. J Abnorm Child Psychol 37, 611–623 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-009-9304-6

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Keywords

  • Witnessing violence
  • Victimization
  • Early adolescence
  • Delinquency
  • Conduct problems
  • School connectedness