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Behav Res Ther. 2009 Jul;47(7):586-91. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2009.04.001. Epub 2009 Apr 17.

Effects of exposure to community violence on school functioning: the mediating role of posttraumatic stress symptoms.

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Department of Psychology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA.


This study investigated the association between exposure to community violence (ECV) and school functioning, as well as posttraumatic stress (PTS) symptoms as a potential mediator of the relationship. PTS symptoms are commonly associated with ECV, and are characterized by difficulty regulating emotions and behaviors. Thus, PTS symptomatology may be one mechanism through which community violence impacts school functioning. The community-based sample included 47 low-income African American children (aged 10-13). Results revealed that ECV was inversely related to academic performance and attendance. Symptoms of posttraumatic stress emerged as a mediator of the relation between ECV and academic performance. Results have implications for urban students who face violence in their communities, and emphasize the need for school-based mental health services.

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