The relation between exposure to violence and social information processing among incarcerated adolescents

J Abnorm Psychol. 2001 Feb;110(1):136-41. doi: 10.1037//0021-843x.110.1.136.


Combining evidence from social learning theory with reports of the association between community violence exposure and aggressive behavior development, the authors examined the link between specific characteristics of violence exposure and social information-processing mechanisms (N. R. Crick & K. A. Dodge, 1994; K. A. Dodge, 1980, 1986) in a sample of highly aggressive, incarcerated adolescent boys (N = 110). Results demonstrated that victimization by severe violence was significantly related to approval of aggression as a social response, problems with the interpretation of social cues, and maladaptive social goals. Witnessing severe violence, in contrast, was related to perceived positive outcomes for the use of aggression. These data suggest the importance of examining the severity and modality of exposure to community violence for understanding patterns of social-cognitive functioning among adolescents exposed to violence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Attitude
  • Humans
  • Juvenile Delinquency / psychology*
  • Juvenile Delinquency / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • North Carolina
  • Prisons
  • Social Perception*
  • Violence / psychology*
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data