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01-06-2009 | Uitgave 2/2009

Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review 2/2009

Racial Discrimination: A Continuum of Violence Exposure for Children of Color

Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review > Uitgave 2/2009
Kathy Sanders-Phillips


This article reviews and examines findings on the impact of racial discrimination on the development and functioning of children of color in the US. Based on current definitions of violence and child maltreatment, exposure to racial discrimination should be considered as a form of violence that can significantly impact child outcomes and limit the ability of parents and communities to provide support that promotes resiliency and optimal child development. In this article, a conceptual model of the effects of racial discrimination in children of color is presented. The model posits that exposure to racial discrimination may be a chronic source of trauma in the lives of many children of color that negatively influences mental and physical outcomes as well as parent and community support and functioning. Concurrent exposure to other forms of violence, including domestic, interpersonal and/or community violence, may exacerbate these effects. The impact of a potential continuum of violence exposure for children of color in the US and the need for future research and theoretical models on children’s exposure to violence that attend to the impact of racial discrimination on child outcomes are discussed.

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