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The Prevalence and Longitudinal Patterns of Continuous Community Violence Exposure and Trauma-Related Symptoms in Adolescent Male Serious Offenders

NCJ Number
Journal of Traumatic Stress Volume: 33 Issue: 4 Dated: 2020
Noni K. Gaylord-Harden; Amanda Burnside; Don T. Tinsley
Date Published
10 pages
This study examined the longitudinal patterns of continuous exposure to community violence (ECV) and associated symptoms in serious adolescent male offenders.
Using data from the Pathways to Desistance Study (Schubert et al., 2004), the current study examined the prevalence of continuous ECV and the stability in exposure over a 3-year period in 1,170 adolescent male offenders (M age at baseline = 16.05 years, SD = 1.15). The results showed variability in adolescent offenders’ ECV and trauma-related symptoms. A latent class analysis identified three classes of participants at each time point: “witnessed with hostility,” “dually exposed [i.e., high probability of both witnessing and victimization] with anxiety and hostility,” and “no/low exposure with anxiety and hostility.” Participants in the witnessed with hostility class reported more baseline ECV than those in the other classes, ds = 0.62–1.37, and more violent offenses than those in the dually exposed with anxiety and hostility class, d = 0.48. In addition, participants in the witnessed with hostility class were older, d = 0.10, and reported more violent offenses at baseline, d = 0.07, than those in the no/low exposure class; however, participants in the no/low exposure class reported spending more time in secure settings with no community access than those in the witnessed with hostility class, d = 0.20. A latent transition analysis over a 3-year period revealed relatively high stability in ECV and trauma-related symptoms over time, with a large proportion of participants remaining in the same violence and trauma class at each transition. (publisher abstract modified)