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Effects of Neighborhood Disconnection on Psychological Distress and Suicide Risk Associated with Interpersonal Violence Within Racial Groups

Abstract

Negative mental health outcomes have been associated with adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and intimate partner violence (IPV); however, few studies have identified risk and protective factors across levels of the social ecology that mitigate the onset of psychological distress and suicide risk associated with trauma. This study examines the relationship between ACEs, IPV, and mental health (i.e., psychological distress, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts) within racial sub-populations of Black American, Latinx, and White adults. An online, cross-section survey was administered to a general population sample of adults in Baltimore and New York City. ACEs, IPV, and mental health outcomes were assessed within racial sub-populations of Black American (N = 390), Latinx (N = 178), and White (N = 339) adults, while accounting for within-group demographic differences. Moderating effects of social support and neighborhood disconnection on the relationship between ACEs, IPV, and mental health outcomes were also assessed. IPV was associated with psychological distress and suicidal ideation for Black and Latinx adults, but not for White adults. ACEs were associated with increased psychological distress for all three groups, and increased odds for suicidal ideation among Black and Latinx adults.. A significant negative interaction effect for neighborhood disconnection was found in the relationship between ACEs and psychological distress for Black adults. Findings highlight the significant mental health burdens of ACEs and IPV within racial and ethnic groups. Neighborhood disconnection may exacerbate psychological distress associated with ACEs among populations most impacted by interpersonal violence and mental health inequalities.

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Fig. 1

Data Availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author, [LF], upon reasonable request.

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Funding for this study was provided through a competitive intramural research grant at the University of Maryland School of Social Work.

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Fedina, L., Moss, L., Rousson, A.N. et al. Effects of Neighborhood Disconnection on Psychological Distress and Suicide Risk Associated with Interpersonal Violence Within Racial Groups. Journ Child Adol Trauma 16, 681–697 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40653-023-00532-2

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