Academic journal article
By Ceballo, Rosario; Dahl, Trayci A.; Aretakis, Maria T.; Ramirez, Cynthia
Journal of Marriage and Family , Vol. 63, No. 4
This study examines the psychological impact of children's exposure to violence and the influence of mothers' knowledge about their children's encounters with violence. Our sample consists of a poor, multiethnic sample of 104 fourth- or fifth-- grade children and their mothers. Children in this sample were exposed to rather high levels of community violence, and on the whole, mothers greatly underestimated their children's exposure to violence and feelings of psychological distress. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that children's exposure to violence was associated with greater psychological distress. Our findings suggest that the detrimental effects of community violence are present for all children, irrespective of their racial background. Further, greater mother-child agreement about children's exposure to violence was related to better psychological functioning. The implications of these results for effective parenting strategies and community-based interventions are discussed.
Key Words: community violence, parenting, psychological well-being, vicarious victimization.
This research was supported by funds provided by the Department of Psychology and the Center for Human Growth and Development at the University of Michigan. We are most grateful for the openness and generosity of the mothers and children who shared their experiences with us. In addition, we would like to thank members of the Study Group on Culture and Ethnicity, a subgroup of the Family Research Consortium, for constructive and insightful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. We are also appreciative of the responsive and sound statistical advice provided by Richard Gonzalez and David Winter. Finally, we would like to acknowledge a large group of talented and dedicated undergraduate students who assisted with data collection and data entry.
Achenbach, T M. (1991). Manual for the Child Behavior Checklist/4-18 and the 1991 profile. Burlington: University of Vermont.
American Psychiatric Association. (1980). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
American Psychiatric Association. (1987). Diagnostic
and statistical manual of mental disorders (3rd ed., rev.). Washington, DC: Author.
Angold, A., Weissman, M. M., John, K., Merikangas, K. R., Prusoff, B. A., Wickramaratne, P, Gammon, G. D., & Warner, V. (1987). Parent and child reports of depressive symptoms in children at low and high risk of depression. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 28, 901-915.
Baldwin, A. L., Baldwin, C., & Cole, R. E. (1990). Stress-resistant families and stress-resistant children. In J. Rolf, A. S. Masten, D. Cicchetti, K. H. Nuechterlein, & S. Weintraub (Eds.), Risk and protective factors in the development of psychopathology (pp. 257-280). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.
Bell, C. C., & Jenkins, E. J. (1991). Traumatic stress and children. Journal of Health Care for the Poor & Underserved, 2, 175-185.
Bell, C. C., & Jenkins, E. J. (1993). Community violence and children on Chicago's southside. Psychiatry, 56, 46-54.
Bronfenbrenner, U. (1986). Ecology of the family as a context for human development: Research perspectives. Developmental Psychology, 22, 723-742.
Cohen, J. (1960). A coefficient of agreement for nominal scales. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 20, 37-46.
Cooley-Quille, M. R., Turner, S. M., & Beidel, D. C. (1995). Emotional impact of children's exposure to community violence: A preliminary study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 34, 1362-1368.
Crouter, A. C., Helms-Erikson, H., Updegraff, K., & McHale, S. M. (1999). Conditions underlying parents' knowledge about children's daily lives in middle childhood: Between- and within-family comparisons. …