Abstract: WITHDRAWN: Associations between Youth Community Violence Exposure and Academic Functioning: The Mediating Role of Emotion Regulation and Inattention. (Society for Prevention Research 27th Annual Meeting)

575 WITHDRAWN: Associations between Youth Community Violence Exposure and Academic Functioning: The Mediating Role of Emotion Regulation and Inattention.

Friday, May 31, 2019
Marina Room (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Sonia Alves, Ed.M., Doctoral Candidate, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA
Dana Charles McCoy, PhD, Assistant Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA
Stephanie M. Jones, PhD, Professor of Education, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Introduction: There is a growing body of literature documenting the incidence and prevalence of youth community violence exposure (CVE) and its influence on academic outcomes. In 2009 a national survey estimated that 60% of U.S. youth reported at least one incident of CVE and were at an increased risk for subsequent exposure (Finkelhor et al., 2009). While research indicates an association between CVE and poorer academic outcomes (Sharkey et al., 2014) what remains relatively unexplored are key developmental mechanisms that explain CVE influence on poorer academic functioning (AF). However, there is sufficient research and theory on stress reactivity (Perry et al., 1995) to begin to hypothesize Emotion Regulation (ER) and Attention as two key brain-related processes that are themselves closely tied to AF (Graziano et al., 2007; McCoy et al., 2015). Thus, the purpose of the study is to investigate the mediating role of ER and Inattention in the association between youth CVE and AF.

Methods: This study used secondary data analysis from the 2007-10 follow-up waves (Wave 1 = grade 7 & Wave 2 = grade 9) of data for the Universal Social-Emotional Learning and Literacy Intervention in NYC elementary schools. Participants were 581 youth with a mean age of 12 years at Wave 1. Measures included: 1) youth self-report of CVE, 2) parent report of ER and Inattention, and 3) scaled scores on the New York State standardized assessment of Math and ELA performance and youth self-report of School Engagement (SE). Control variables included: gender, SES, age, 4Rs intervention impacts and Wave 1 AF measures. Partially Latent Structural Regression Models were employed using StataSE.

Results: Results indicated that youth CVE at Wave 1 was associated with lower ER and higher Inattention at Wave 2. ER was positively associated with Math and ELA performance, whereas Inattention was negatively associated with SE at Wave 2. Negative and significant indirect paths were observed from youth CVE to SE and ELA performance via ER and Inattention, confirming our hypothesis that these specific processes mediate the relationship between CVE and critical aspects of AF. More specifically, Inattention explained 67% and ER explained 32% of the total associations between youth CVE and SE. In contrast, ER explained 79% and Inattention explained 20% of the total associations between CVE and ELA performance.

Conclusions: There is an urgent need for systematic educational efforts to reduce the negative consequences of youth CVE. This paper provides new evidence about the mechanisms of action through which CVE impacts specific aspects of AF, and suggests that trauma-informed practices and policies should focus on building emotion regulation and attention skills among young people exposed to violence.