Abstract: The Impact of Secondary Exposure to Gun Violence Fatality on Hallucination- and Delusion-like Experiences Among Three Racial/Ethnic Groups (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

38P The Impact of Secondary Exposure to Gun Violence Fatality on Hallucination- and Delusion-like Experiences Among Three Racial/Ethnic Groups

Thursday, January 16, 2020
Marquis BR Salon 6 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Melissa Smith, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD
Lisa Fedina, PhD, Transitional Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, MI
Kerry-A Lee, School of Social Work, University of Maryland at Baltimore, Baltimore, MD
Tanya Sharpe, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Toronto
Rohini Pahwa, PhD, Assistant Professor, New York University, New York, NY
Concepcion Barrio, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Jordan Devylder, PhD, Associate Professor, Fordham University, New York, NY
Background and Purpose: In the U.S., gun violence disproportionately affects racial/ethnic minorities with Black and Latinx individuals experiencing three or more homicides in their lifetime. Exposure to gun violence fatality has been broadly linked to negative mental health outcomes, including psychotic experiences, among secondary victims. Psychotic experiences are sub-clinical manifestations of psychosis vulnerability, which are less intense and severe than symptoms of psychotic disorders. Predominant theories of psychosis vulnerability all implicate stress and trauma, particularly interpersonal trauma, as causal social factors. However, limited research has examined this phenomena within specific racial/ethnic minority groups. As such we take an intersectionality approach that focuses on diversity within groups and the potential unique culturally bound experiences of trauma (such as gun violence fatality exposure) and culturally influenced manifestations of mental health. Therefore, the aim of this study is to examine associations between vicarious exposure to gun violence fatality and four different types of psychosis-like experiences (delusional mood, paranoid delusions, delusions of thought control, and hallucinations) among Black, Latinx, and White adults.

Methods: Data were used from the online Survey of Police-Public Encounters (SPPE). Adult community residents were recruited from Baltimore, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. (N = 1,615). Participants were 18 years or older who resided within the target cities. Data analyses were conducted using SPSS version 24. Controlling for age, gender, psychological distress, suicidal ideation, and interpersonal violence exposure as potential confounding variables, logistic regression was used to test the associations between secondary exposure to gun violence fatality and the four subtypes of psychosis-like experiences within each racial/ethnic group.

Results: Fifty seven percent of the participants identified as White, 31% as Black/African American, and 12% as Latinx/Hispanic. Preliminary findings revealed that Black respondents with gun violence exposure had significantly higher odds of endorsing delusional mood-like experiences when compared to Black respondents without gun violence exposure (OR=2.09, CI=1.15-3.78, p<0.05). Latinx/Hispanic respondents who were exposed to gun violence were almost 10 times more likely to endorse hallucination-like experiences compared to Latinx/Hispanics respondents not exposed (OR= 9.78, CI=1.35-65.68, p<0.05 ). Additionally, White respondents exposed to to gun violence were almost three times more likely to endorse hallucination-like experiences (OR= 2.70, CI=1.63 – 4.50, p<0.05 ) and 3.5 times more likely to endorse delusional mood-like experiences (OR= 3.57, CI=1.23 – 10.38, p<0.05 ) compared to White respondents without such exposure.

Conclusions and Implications: Results suggest unique within-group experiences with vicarious gun violence exposure and psychotic experiences among Black/African Americans, Latinx/Hispanic, and White adults. Implications of these findings highlight the need for clinical interventions that focus on the dynamic relationship between gun violence fatality exposure and psychosis-like experiences that are situated within a sociocultural context of race and mental health.