Saturday, January 19, 2019: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
Golden Gate 5, Lobby Level (Hilton San Francisco)
Cluster: Violence against Women and Children (VAWC)
Von Nebbitt, PhD, Washington University in Saint Louis
Henrika McCoy, PhD, University of Illinois at Chicago
The purpose of this symposium is to highlight the centrality of exposure to community violence on the psychological well-being of urban African American adolescents living in public housing communities. Using a sample of African American adolescents (i.e., 13-21) and running a series of structural equation modeling (SEM) analyses, we explore the differential paths of influence that are mediated by witnessing community violence and victimization of community violence and how this affects adolescents' psychological well-being (i.e., anxiety sensitivity, depression and symptoms of PTSD). In an effort to understand and explicate the role of community context in these relationships, we explore possible protective effects of parental behaviors and possible adverse effects of deviant peer affiliates and neighborhood hazards on exposure to community violence (i.e., witness and victim) and adolescents' psychological well-being. It is well documented that urban African American youth experiences the lion's share of community violence as both witnesses and victims. Evidence suggests the violence these youth experience is related to their concentration in highly segregated and extremely poor communities. However, the relationships between community context, exposure to community violence, and African American youth mental health has not been adequately explored. Furthermore, insufficient evidence exists that attempts to differentiate the varied paths that impact adolescents' psychological well-being through witnessing violence and victimization by violence. In this symposium, we present three papers using data (n=320) collected from a sample of African American youth living in public housing, and similar neighborhoods, in a large Mid-Atlantic city. This symposium contributes to gaps in knowledge on the role that exposure to community violence plays as a mediator in the relationship(s) between contextual variables and the psychological well-being of African American adolescents living in low-income segregated neighborhoods. Attendants will leave with a better understanding of how community context influences exposure to community violence and how this then impacts adolescents' psychological well-being.
* noted as presenting author
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