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J Res Adolesc. 2016 Sep;26(3):552-566. Epub 2015 Jul 8.

Effect of Environmental Risk and Externalizing Comorbidity on Internalizing Problems Among Economically Disadvantaged African American Youth.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Florida.
2
Department of Psychology, University of Alabama.
3
Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University.
4
Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University.

Abstract

This study examined effects of racial discrimination, community violence, and stressful life events on internalizing problems among African American youth from high poverty neighborhoods (N = 607; 293 boys; Mage = 16.0 years, SD = 1.44 years). Mediated effects via externalizing problems on these relations were also examined, given the high comorbidity rate between internalizing and externalizing problems. Externalizing problems partially mediated the effect of stressful life events on internalizing problems and fully mediated the effect of racial discrimination for boys but not for girls. Exposure to violence had a significant indirect effect on internalizing problems via externalizing problems. The findings call for greater attention to internalizing problems among African American youth and pathways to internalizing problems via externalizing problems.

KEYWORDS:

African American; environmental stressors; internalizing problems

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