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Keywords:

  • political violence;
  • social–ecological model;
  • community violence;
  • family conflict;
  • child adjustment;
  • emotional security

Abstract

Youth's risk for adjustment problems amid political violence is well documented, but outcomes vary widely, with many children functioning well. Accordingly, researchers are seeking to identify the mechanisms and conditions that contribute to children's adjustment, with an interest in understanding effects on children in terms of changes in the social contexts in which they live and the psychological processes engaged by these social ecologies. In this article, we look at the importance of studying many levels of the social ecology and of differentiating the effects of exposure to contexts of political versus nonpolitical violence, and we address theories about explanatory processes. We review research pertinent to these themes, including a six-wave longitudinal study on political violence and children in Northern Ireland.