Exposure to Violence and Low-Income Children's Mental Health: Direct, Moderated, and Mediated Relations

The authors examined the association between exposure to violence and different indexes of mental health among 95 extremely poor children (age range = 8-17 years) and analyzed potential moderators and mediators. Findings indicated that 62% of youths had been exposed to at least 1 form of violence. Controlling for other explanatory factors, exposure to violence was significantly associated with internalizing symptoms (e.g., depression, anxiety) across all children, but the relation was stronger for girls compared with boys. Externalizing problem behaviors were also associated with exposure to violence, but subgroup differences were not detected. Regression analyses indicated that self-esteem and a measure of perceived chronic danger may partially mediate the link between violence exposure and mental health symptoms. (Authors)

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American Journal of Orthopsychiatry