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09-01-2016 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 7/2016

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 7/2016

Family Resources as Protective Factors for Low-Income Youth Exposed to Community Violence

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 7/2016
Cecily R. Hardaway, Emma Sterrett-Hong, Cynthia A. Larkby, Marie D. Cornelius


Exposure to community violence is a risk factor for internalizing and externalizing problems; however, resources within the family can decrease the likelihood that adolescents will experience internalizing and externalizing problems as a result of such exposure. This study investigates the potential moderating effects of kinship support (i.e., emotional and tangible support from extended family) and parental involvement on the relation between exposure to community violence (i.e., witnessing violence and violent victimization) and socioemotional adjustment (i.e., internalizing and externalizing problems) in low-income adolescents. The sample included 312 (50 % female; 71 % African American and 29 % White) low-income youth who participated in a longitudinal investigation when adolescents were age 14 (M age = 14.49 years) and again when they were 16 (M age = 16.49 years). Exposure to community violence at age 14 was related to more internalizing and externalizing problems at age 16. High levels of kinship support and parental involvement appeared to function as protective factors, weakening the association between exposure to violence and externalizing problems. Contrary to prediction, none of the hypothesized protective factors moderated the association between exposure to violence and internalizing problems. The results from this study suggest that both kinship support and parental involvement help buffer adolescents from externalizing problems that are associated with exposure to community violence.

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