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J Pediatr Psychol. 2012 Jan-Feb;37(1):11-22. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsr063. Epub 2011 Sep 8.

Parsing the effects violence exposure in early childhood: modeling developmental pathways.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT 06030, USA. mbriggsgowan@uchc.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To prospectively examine pathways from early childhood violence exposure and trauma-related symptoms to school-age emotional health.

METHODS:

A longitudinal, birth cohort (N = 437) was assessed with parent reports of lifetime violence exposure and trauma-related symptoms at 3 years of age and later, internalizing and externalizing symptoms, and social competence at school age.

RESULTS:

Early family and neighborhood violence correlated significantly with early trauma-related symptoms and also significantly predicted school-age internalizing and externalizing symptoms and poorer competence, independent of sociodemographic risk and past-year violence exposure. Longitudinal pathways were significantly mediated by arousal and avoidance symptoms at 3 years of age, which increased risk for clinically significant emotional problems and lower competence at school age (adjusted odds ratios = 3.1-6.1, p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS:

Trauma-related symptoms may mediate developmental pathways from early violence exposure to later emotional health. Interventions that prevent or reduce early trauma-related symptoms may ameliorate the long-term deleterious impact of violence exposure.

PMID:
21903730
PMCID:
PMC3263769
DOI:
10.1093/jpepsy/jsr063
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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