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NCJ Number: 228137 Find in a Library
Title: Psychological Effect of Exposure to Gang Violence on Youth: A Pilot Study
Journal: Journal of Gang Research  Volume:16  Issue:4  Dated:Summer 2009  Pages:35-52
Author(s): Sarah Kelly; Debra Anderson; Ann Peden
Date Published: 2009
Page Count: 18
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This pilot study examined the psychological consequences of adolescents’ exposure to gang violence in their neighborhoods.
Abstract: Youths who had witnessed violence in their neighborhoods expressed concern about their safety while in the neighborhood. Feelings associated with exposure to gang violence varied among the youth and included sadness for the victim, worry, nervousness, being scared, and anger toward others. Surprisingly, a few of the youth had little concern for their personal safety after witnessing violence. This may suggest that constant exposure to violence may lead to desensitization and a sense of the inevitability of being a victim of violence. Gang violence was not the only violence to which the youth were exposed in their neighborhoods. Differences in reactions to the various types of violence should be examined in future research. Participation in school-sponsored athletic events and extracurricular activities were common for the youth interviewed; however, in the neighborhood, many were reluctant to play outside their homes without a trusted adult being present. Participants were recruited from one community center in Louisville, KY. The eight at-risk youth selected for the study had all been exposed to gang violence within the past 2 years and were between the ages of 8 and 18. Youth were excluded from the study if they could not speak English, had been exposed to child abuse and domestic violence, belonged to a gang, were a ward of the State, or had any medical condition that inhibited participation. A semistructured interview guide was used for data collection. Questions focused on youth’s experience with gang violence in their neighborhoods and how this exposure had affected them. 37 references
Main Term(s): Gang violence
Index Term(s): Juvenile victims; Juvenile/Youth Gangs; Psychological victimization effects; Victims of violent crime
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