The prevalence and consequences of exposure to violence among African-American youth

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1993 Mar;32(2):424-30. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199303000-00026.


The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between chronic exposure to community violence and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in a nonrandom sample (N = 221) of low-income African-American youth between 7 and 18 years old. Results showed males were more likely than females to be victims of and witnesses to violent acts; there were no other significant sociodemographic differences in the degree of exposure to violence. PTSD symptom reporting was moderately high for this sample of youth; 54 youth (27.1%) met all three of the diagnostic criteria considered. Regression analyses revealed that being victimized and witnessing violence were significantly related to the reporting of PTSD symptoms. These symptoms were more extreme among victimized females and victimized youth who had no primary males living with them in the household (i.e., fathers and/or brothers). Exposure to violence among youth is clearly significant to their reporting of PTSD symptomatology, yet the clinical implications of this relationship remain largely unexplored.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Arousal
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Personality Development
  • Personality Inventory
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Urban Population*
  • Violence*