Abstract: WITHDRAWN: Community Violence Exposure and Associated Psychopathology: Comparing Juvenile Delinquents and School Students (Society for Prevention Research 24th Annual Meeting)

284 WITHDRAWN: Community Violence Exposure and Associated Psychopathology: Comparing Juvenile Delinquents and School Students

Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Pacific D/L (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Roman Koposov, PhD, Associate Professor, Centre for Child and Youth Mental Health and Child Welfare, Tromso, Norway
Vladislav Ruchkin, PhD, Associate Professor, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
Introduction: Community violence is recognized as a major public health problem, with over 80% of children living in urban areas have witnessed community violence; as many of 70% of them report being victims of this violence. Previous research has consistently reported that exposure to community violence is a risk factor for child and adolescent mental health with a wide range of problems. The aim of this study was to investigate potential differences in the relationship between community violence exposure and mental health, alcohol use and aggressive beliefs in delinquent youth and adolescents from general population.

Methods: Participants were 1361 12-17 year old adolescents (M=16.4, SD=0.9) in three different groups, juvenile delinquents (N=344), and school students (N=1017, 35% boys) from a city in Northwestern part of Russia with population of 360.000.

Results: Juvenile delinquents reported higher levels of both witnessing (D=1.97 (1.78) vs B=1.21 (1.44) vs G=.83 (1.16); F=74.30, p>.001) and victimization (D=1.39 (1.39) vs B=.50 (.83) vs G=.31 (.65); F=74.30, p>.001). As for differences in problem scores according to the degree of severity of violence exposure, direct victimization was associated with reporting significantly higher levels of depression, anxiety, somatization, alcohol use, binge drinking and aggressive beliefs among adolescents from all three study groups. The main effect for the degree of exposure to violence for the total group was significant (Wilks’ lambda=.918; F (14, 2690) = 8.42, p<.000, η2 = .042), with increasing problems scores by increasing exposure to community violence. The main effect for group was also significant (Wilks’ lambda=.695; F (14, 2690) = 38.39, p<.000, η2 = .167), demonstrating differences between variables of interest between the study groups.

Considering that the differences by outcome, country and gender could have been masked by use of the MANCOVA analysis, each outcome was examine separately in order to determine whether the patterns that are reported from the MANCOVA hold up with each outcome individually. The results obtained have been largely similar.

Conclusions: Our findings that problems scores increased along with severity of violence exposure and generalizability of this pattern to all three groups expand previous research about a consistent relationship between community violence and psychopathology. Findings are of relevance both for identifying adolescents at risk for mental health problems as a result of exposure to community violence and for preventive efforts.