Community violence and youth: affect, behavior, substance use, and academics

Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev. 2009 Jun;12(2):127-56. doi: 10.1007/s10567-009-0051-6.


Community violence is recognized as a major public health problem (WHO, World Report on Violence and Health, 2002) that Americans increasingly understand has adverse implications beyond inner-cities. However, the majority of research on chronic community violence exposure focuses on ethnic minority, impoverished, and/or crime-ridden communities while treatment and prevention focuses on the perpetrators of the violence, not on the youth who are its direct or indirect victims. School-based treatment and preventive interventions are needed for children at elevated risk for exposure to community violence. In preparation, a longitudinal, community epidemiological study, The Multiple Opportunities to Reach Excellence (MORE) Project, is being fielded to address some of the methodological weaknesses presented in previous studies. This study was designed to better understand the impact of children's chronic exposure to community violence on their emotional, behavioral, substance use, and academic functioning with an overarching goal to identify malleable risk and protective factors which can be targeted in preventive and intervention programs. This paper describes the MORE Project, its conceptual underpinnings, goals, and methodology, as well as implications for treatment and preventive interventions and future research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Affect*
  • Age Factors
  • Baltimore
  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Cognition
  • Educational Status*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Psychology, Child*
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Adjustment
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Violence / prevention & control
  • Violence / psychology*