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The study examined whether witnessing verbal parental aggression (VPA) was related to sexual activity among mostly low income African American youth, and whether psychological symptoms mediated this relationship. Five hundred and sixty-three African American high school adolescents (ages 13–19) completed self-administered questionnaires, which assessed demographics, psychological problems (e.g., depression, anxiety, aggression and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms), witnessing VPA, and sexual activity. Participants who witnessed high versus no VPA were 2 times more likely to report sexual activity. This relationship was mediated by aggression for males and females, and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms for females only. Youth service providers should be trained to understand the prevalence of co-occurring problems such as exposure to VPA, aggression, PTSD symptoms, and sexual activity, with the goal of more effectively supporting the healthy development of African American youth.
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- Exposure to Verbal Parental Aggression and Sexual Activity Among Low Income African American Youth
Dexter R. Voisin
- Springer US