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Parallel-Process Trajectories of Exposure to Violence and Psychological Distress Among Justice-Involved Youth.

NCJ Number
Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health Volume: 29 Issue: 2 Dated: 2019 Pages: 74-84
John A. Reid; Thomas A. Loughran
Date Published
11 pages
This study examined the relationship between long-term exposure to violence and the development of psychological distress among justice-involved adolescents.
The study examined exposure to violence and emergent psychological distress among adolescents, using latent growth model analyses with a sample of 1,336 young peoplemale and femalewho completed 10 follow-up interviews over 7 years as part of the Pathways to Desistance study. Four models were tested: (a) changes in exposure to violence over time; (b) changes in psychological distress over time; (c) the contemporaneous, parallel processes of changes in exposure to violence and psychological distress over time; and (d) differences in the evolution of violence exposure and psychological distress across sex and race/ethnicity. The study found that for the sample as a whole, exposure to violence decreased over time, as did psychological distress, but their relationship to each other was consistent. There were individual differences, however, and the subgroup of young African Americans did not experience the reduction in exposure to violence reported by the young Whites and Hispanics. Trajectories of exposure to violence and related psychological distress did not escalate over time as expected. These findings indicate that more research is needed on the heterogeneity of violence exposure and its negative psychological impacts. (publisher abstract modified)