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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 227846 Find in a Library
Title: Vulnerability to Violence: A Contextually-Sensitive, Development Perspective on African American Adolescents
Journal: Journal of Social Issues  Volume:59  Issue:1  Dated:2003  Pages:33-49
Author(s): Margaret Beale Spencer; Davido Dupree; Michael Cunningham; Vinay Harpalani; Michele Munoz-Miller
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 17
Sponsoring Agency: Commonwealth Fund
New York, NY 10021
Ford Foundation
New York, NY 10017
Kellogg Foundation
Battle Creek, MI 49016
National Institute of Mental Health
Bethesda, MD 20852
National Science Foundation
Arlington, VA 22230
Spencer Foundation
Chicago, IL 60611
William T. Grant Foundation
New York, NY 10022
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Using data from a sample of African-American adolescents living in a southeastern metropolitan area, this study used Spencer's Phenomenological Variant of Ecological Systems Theory (PVEST) as a theoretical framework for analyzing the potential effects of being a victim or co-victim of a violent crime.
Abstract: From a PVEST perspective, race and socioeconomic status are risk factors for exposure to violence. Both direct and indirect experiences with violence constitute stress engagement that promotes maladaptive coping strategies, which can include violence and substance abuse. The findings of this study suggest that responses to experiences with violence should be considered in a broader context, which includes the influences of prior behavior and experiences. In addition, it may be inappropriate to attribute reported cognitive and behavioral problems to a single experience; adolescents may be experiencing multiple stressors over time. This may result in a different set of symptoms and diverse coping strategies. As the victim profiles indicate, two adolescents may exhibit four symptoms after reporting an experience with violence, but they may each report a differing set of symptoms that produce a different perception and response to the violence. Each response to victimization may be based in different pre-existing risk factors. From a policy perspective the study has two major implications. First, and most importantly, public funding should allow mental health support and services to be available to students without requiring a diagnosis for a particular disorder. Second, in terms of broader implications of the PVEST perspective on vulnerability to violence, future prevention and intervention programs for adolescents should incorporate issues that are more salient during adolescence. Of the adolescents who participated in the study, 20 were victims of violence, and 332 had not been victims of violence. The youths were compared on their self-reporting of clinical symptoms normally associated with violence or traumatic experiences during middle childhood and early adolescence. 1 table, 1 figure, and 38 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Black/African Americans; Coping; Psychological victimization effects; Victims of violent crime
Note: For other articles in this issue, see NCJ227844-45 and NCJ-227847-52
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