Protective Factors for Youth Exposed to Violence in Their Communities: A Review of Family, School, and Community Moderators.

Abstract

This review provides a comprehensive investigation of the pattern and strength of findings in the literature regarding the environmental moderators of the relationship between exposure to community violence and mental health among children and adolescents. Twenty-nine studies met criteria for inclusion in our analysis of family, school, and community variables as moderators. Dependent variables included internalizing (e.g., anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder) and externalizing symptoms (e.g., aggression, substance use). Effect sizes for the interactions of exposure to violence and potential moderators were summarized by their patterns of protective processes. The majority of studies in the literature examined family characteristics as moderators of the exposure to violence-symptom relationship, rather than school- or community-level factors. Our results indicated more consistent patterns for (a) close family relationships and social support for internalizing symptoms and (b) close family relationships for externalizing symptoms. Overall, the most common type of protective pattern was protective-stabilizing, in which youth with higher levels of the environmental attribute demonstrate relative stability in mental health despite exposure to violence. We found no consistent evidence that parental monitoring-a dimension inversely associated with exposure to violence in prior studies-moderated the relationship between exposure to violence and symptoms. The study emphasizes the importance of strengthening family support for young people's exposure to community violence; more research is needed to provide a solid evidence base for the role of school and community-level protective factors for youth exposed to violence.

DOI: 10.1080/15374416.2015.1046178

Cite this paper

@article{Ozer2017ProtectiveFF, title={Protective Factors for Youth Exposed to Violence in Their Communities: A Review of Family, School, and Community Moderators.}, author={Emily J. Ozer and Iris Lavi and Laura S. Douglas and Jennifer Price Wolf}, journal={Journal of clinical child and adolescent psychology : the official journal for the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, American Psychological Association, Division 53}, year={2017}, volume={46 3}, pages={353-378} }