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Child Psychiatry Hum Dev. 2013 Aug;44(4):516-24. doi: 10.1007/s10578-012-0344-8.

Cross-cultural findings on community violence exposure and internalizing psychopathology: comparing adolescents in the United States, Russia, and Belgium.

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Child Study Center, Yale University Medical School, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


The study aimed to investigate cross-cultural differences in the relation between community violence and psychopathology. A self-report survey was conducted in a representative sample of 3,309 14-17 year old adolescents from urban communities in the US (N = 1,343), Belgium (N = 946) and Russia (N = 1,009). In all three countries, boys reported higher prevalences of violence exposure and more victimization by community violence than girls. Controlling for involvement in antisocial behavior, levels of psychopathology increased along with severity of exposure to community violence (from no exposure to witnessing to victimization). The associations between community violence and internalizing problems were similar across countries and gender. Current findings suggest that the relationships between community violence and adolescent mental health are not culture bound and that they follow similar dynamics in different populations. Clinical implications and directions are discussed.

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