Youth Exposure to Violence: Prevalence, Risks, and Consequences


Departments of Maternal and Child Health & Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02115


Recent empirical work on the distribution, determinants, and consequences of children and adolescents' witnessing of community violence are reviewed. Major findings across studies indicate that males, ethnic minorities, and urban residents are at increased risk for witnessing violence, and that higher rates of PTSD, depression, distress, aggression, and externalizing behavior disturbances are reported among those who witness violence. Degree of family conflict, domestic violence, and family support were demonstrated to modify the impact of exposure to violence. Research and policy recommendations are offered.