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02-05-2016 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 7/2016

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 7/2016

The Costs and Benefits of Active Coping for Adolescents Residing in Urban Poverty

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 7/2016
Kristin J. Carothers, Jessica A. Arizaga, Jocelyn Smith Carter, Jeremy Taylor, Kathryn E. Grant


The present study addresses the lack of specificity and diversity highlighted in recent stress literature reviews by examining active coping in relationships between exposure to violence and internalizing and externalizing symptoms in a sample of urban youth from predominantly low-income, African American and Latino backgrounds. Two hundred and forty-one youth (mean age at Time 1 = 13 years; 66 % female; 41 % African American, 28 % Latino, 14 % European American, 6 % Asian American, 7 % mixed/biracial, 1 % American Indian/native American, .5 % Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 2 % other) and their parents participated in this three-wave study. Hierarchical regression analyses tested for moderation, and a cross lag panel path analysis tested for mediation. The results provide greater support for active coping as a variable that changes the relationship between exposure to community violence and externalizing symptoms, or moderation, rather than one that explains or mediates it. Further, specificity did not emerge for type of psychological outcome but did emerge for gender, such that active coping exacerbated the association between exposure to community violence and both internalizing and externalizing symptoms for girls, but not boys. These findings highlight the importance of contextual and demographic factors in influencing stress and coping processes during adolescence.

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