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15-04-2019 | Original Article

The Influence of Internalizing Symptoms and Emotion Dysregulation on the Association Between Witnessed Community Violence and Aggression Among Urban Adolescents

Tijdschrift:
Child Psychiatry & Human Development
Auteurs:
John L. Cooley, Lorie A. Ritschel, Andrew L. Frazer, Jennifer B. Blossom
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Abstract

The current cross-sectional study examined whether internalizing (i.e. anxiety and depressive) symptoms and/or emotion dysregulation moderated the association between witnessed community violence and aggressive behavior. Participants were 180 predominantly African American adolescents (62% girls; M age = 15.87 years, SD = 1.19 years) from a high school located in an urban community in the United States. Approximately 95% of adolescents reported having witnessed at least one violent act during their lifetimes, with many endorsing repeated exposure to severe acts of community violence. Results indicated that emotion dysregulation exacerbated the association between witnessed community violence and aggression. A quadratic effect of anxiety symptoms also moderated this association, such that witnessed community violence was linked to aggression at low and high, but not moderate, levels of anxiety symptoms. In contrast, a quadratic effect of depressive symptoms was uniquely related to aggression, regardless of witnessed community violence. Directions for future research and implications for practice are reviewed.

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