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Psychiatry. 1993 Feb;56(1):22-35.

The NIMH community violence project: II. Children's distress symptoms associated with violence exposure.

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  • 1Laboratory of Developmental Psychology of the National Institute of Mental Health, Rockville, MD 20857.


The rising tide of violence in American cities has placed the causes and consequences of violence squarely on the public health agenda. The U.S. Government's Year 2000 National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives includes a full chapter devoted to violence issues and delineates a number of goals and programs aimed at reducing the number of deaths and injuries associated with violence (Public Health Service 1990). Notably absent from these objectives, however, is attention to the possible adverse psychological consequences of exposure to acute or chronic violence. Nonetheless, in light of numerous media reports of children's exposure to community violence and recent reports documenting high levels of exposure even among very young children (Richters and Martinez 1993), it is reasonable to question whether the risks of exposure extend beyond death and physical injury to psychological well-being.

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