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Cognitive, Environmental, and Familial Mediators and Moderators Between Exposure to Violence and Adolescent Delinquency
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by Traci M. Barrett - University of Pennsylvania
Categories: Abnormal | Developmental
Research on the childhood risk factors associated with living in low-income neighborhoods has indicated that exposure to violence predicts adolescent aggression and externalizing behaviors. Discrepancies exist in the preliminary data concerning the factors that explain this association. Using a prospective, longitudinal design, we tested the effect of exposure to violence at one point in time on adolescent delinquency at a later point. We also conducted hierarchical regression analyses to test whether cognitive factors such as future expectations, depression, and neighborhood satisfaction mediated this relation, and whether parental support moderated the effects of exposure to violence on adolescent delinquency. The sample was a nationally-representative cohort of 6,504 adolescents who participated in the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health and were in seventh through twelfth grade between 1994 and 1995. Results yielded significant unique effects of exposure to violence and future expectations on adolescent delinquency, but future expectations, depression, and neighborhood satisfaction did not mediate the effect of exposure on delinquency. Parental closeness was negatively associated with delinquency, but parental monitoring was not. Neither parental closeness nor monitoring moderated the association between exposure to violence and delinquency.
Faculty supervisor: Sara Jaffee, University of Pennsylvania