Urban Youth Disruptive Behavioral Difficulties: Exploring Association with Parenting and Gender



    1. Miriam Schiff is at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, School of Social Work. Corresponding Author: Dr. Miriam Schiff, (Ph.D.), Paul Baerwald School of Social Work, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem 91905, Israel, Fax (011 972 2) 582–3587, E-mail msschiff@mscc.huji.ac.il
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    1. Mary McKernan McKay is at the Columbia University School of Social Work, CHAMP Collaborative Board.
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  • Acknowledgements: This research was supported by funding from the National Institute of Mental Health and the W.T. Grant Foundation. The contributions of CHAMP participants, members of the CHAMP Collaborative Board and investigators, Roberta Paikoff Ph.D., Carl Bell M.D., Sybil Madison Ph.D., Donna Baptiste Ph.D., and project directors, Doris Coleman LCSW, Ida Coleman, LaDora McKinney and Pam Coleman are also gratefully acknowledged.


The current study will examine behavioral difficulties among a sample of African American urban youth who were exposed to violence. Possible gender differences in disruptive behavioral difficulties, as well as possible associations between parental practices, family relationships, and youth disruptive behavioral difficulties are examined. A secondary data analysis from baseline data for 125 African American urban mothers and their children collected as part of a large-scale, urban, family-based, HIV prevention research study was analyzed. Findings reveal that externalizing behavioral problems in youth are associated with exposure to violence. Girls displayed significantly higher levels of externalizing behavioral difficulties than boys. Mothers' parenting practices and family relationships were associated with youths' externalizing behavior problems. Implications for interventions to reduce youths' exposure to violence and to develop gender sensitive interventions for youth and supportive interventions for their parents are discussed.