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12-03-2016 | Original Article | Uitgave 2/2017

Child Psychiatry & Human Development 2/2017

Violence Exposure as a Mediator Between Parenting and Adolescent Mental Health

Child Psychiatry & Human Development > Uitgave 2/2017
Anat Moed, Elizabeth T. Gershoff, Elizabeth H. Bringewatt


For youth exposed to community violence, parenting has been found to play a significant role in protecting adolescents from associated mental health symptoms. Yet little is known about the potential of parenting to prevent such exposure in the first place and thereby reduce the likelihood of adolescents’ mental health symptoms. This study examined two parental practices that have often been examined as moderators, but not yet as predictors, of youth exposure to community violence associations with adolescent mental health, namely parental control and parental harshness. Analyses of self-reported data from 908 adolescents (M age = 16.5, SD = 1.71; 52 % girls; 13 % non-Hispanic White) revealed that harsh parenting was indirectly associated with youth mental health symptoms through higher levels of exposure to community violence, whereas links between controlling parenting and mental health symptoms were either non-significant or mediated through lower levels of adolescent violence exposure. These findings highlight the potential positive role parental control may play by preventing adolescents from exposure to potentially dangerous situations. Conversely, our results suggest that harsh parenting appears to pose a risk for adolescents by driving youth away from the home environment and potentially into places where violence may be more prevalent.

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