Emotional impact of children's exposure to community violence: a preliminary study

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1995 Oct;34(10):1362-8. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199510000-00022.


Objective: To use multiple methods and measures to investigate preliminarily the emotional impact of children's exposure to community violence.

Method: Thirty-seven schoolchildren between the ages of 7 and 12 years were categorized into groups with "high" or "low" frequency of exposure.

Results: Differing levels of exposure to community violence did not appear to have an impact on DSM-III-R diagnoses. Exposure to high levels of community violence was not related to internalizing behavior and disorders, but rather was associated with externalizing behavior.

Conclusions: There appears to be an adverse relationship between high levels of exposure to community violence and emotional and conduct problems. Vicarious learning serves as an explanatory construct for these findings.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Self-Assessment
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Violence*