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J Interpers Violence. 2008 Mar;23(3):296-315. doi: 10.1177/0886260507312287.

Community violence in context: risk and resilience in children and families.

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School of Social Work, University of Washington, USA.


Although some community violence research has examined the context of community violence, including the social, economic, and structural organization of neighborhoods, more needs to be learned about family, school, and community-level factors that may promote and lessen the incidence and prevalence of community violence. In addition, further research is needed on various social, environmental, and contextual factors hypothesized to protect youth from exposure. This article (a) reviews and examines the relation between neighborhood context and risk of violence exposure, (b) reviews current literature on predictors of community violence and mental health and behavioral consequences for children and families adversely affected by community violence, (c) examines sources of resilience and community strengths that extend beyond the individual, (d) discusses the contributions and limitations of current conceptualizations of risk and resilience, and (e) highlights directions for future research. Information from this review can inform community and government efforts to lessen community violence through prevention and treatment.

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