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02-10-2020 | Original Paper | Uitgave 12/2020

Journal of Child and Family Studies 12/2020

Israeli Palestinian Adolescents’ Exposure to Community Violence and their Academic Achievements: The Indirect Effects of Internalizing and Externalizing Symptoms and Parental Psychological Well-Being

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 12/2020
Neveen Ali-Saleh Darawshy
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Rates of exposure to community violence (CV) are alarmingly high for youth in many countries, and associated with negative consequences. The present study examines the rates and consequences of exposure to community violence among Palestinian adolescents from Israel, age 14–18 years. Specifically, it examines whether exposure to community violence is indirectly related to academic achievement through internalizing and externalizing symptoms among adolescents; and whether the impact of internalizing and externalizing symptoms on academic achievements depends on parental levels of psychological well-being (PWB). A semi systematic random sample of 760 Palestinian adolescents in Israel, (320 boys, and 440 girls) completed a self-administration questionnaire. Most of the adolescents had witnessed community violence during the last year and during their lifetime; more than one third had directly experienced lifetime violence compared with 19.6% during the last year. Path analysis was used to examine a moderated mediation model, with internalizing and externalizing symptoms as a mediator of the relationship between exposure to CV and academic achievement, and PWB as a moderator of the path between internalizing/externalizing symptoms and academic achievement. Externalizing, but not internalizing, symptoms mediated the association between exposure to CV and academic achievement. Moreover, parental psychological well-being (PWB) moderated the relationship between externalizing symptoms and academic achievements. Findings highlight the importance of targeting adolescent externalizing symptoms and academic achievement following exposure to community violence. Study limitations, implications for practice, and recommendations for future research are discussed.

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