The effects of exposure to violence and victimization across life domains on adolescent substance use

Emily M. Wright, Abigail A. Fagan, Gillian M. Pinchevsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study uses longitudinal data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN) to examine the effects of exposure to school violence, community violence, child abuse, and parental intimate partner violence (IPV) on youths' subsequent alcohol and marijuana use. We also examine the cumulative effects of being exposed to violence across these domains. Longitudinal data were obtained from 1,655 adolescents and their primary caregivers participating in the PHDCN. The effects of adolescents' exposure to various forms of violence across different life domains were examined relative to adolescents' frequency of alcohol and marijuana use three years later. Multivariate statistical models were employed to control for a range of child, parent, and family risk factors. Exposure to violence in a one-year period increased the frequency of substance use three years later, though the specific relationships between victimization and use varied for alcohol and marijuana use. Community violence and child abuse, but not school violence or exposure to IPV, were predictive of future marijuana use. None of the independent measures of exposure to violence significantly predicted future alcohol use. Finally, the accumulation of exposure to violence across life domains was detrimental to both future alcohol and marijuana use. The findings support prior research indicating that exposure to multiple forms of violence, across multiple domains of life, negatively impacts adolescent outcomes, including substance use. The findings also suggest that the context in which exposure to violence occurs should be considered in future research, since the more domains in which youth are exposed to violence, the fewer "safe havens" they have available. Finally, a better understanding of the types of violence youth encounter and the contexts in which these experiences occur can help inform intervention efforts aimed at reducing victimization and its negative consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)899-909
Number of pages11
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume37
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013

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Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Alcohol use
  • Exposure to violence
  • Marijuana use
  • Poly-victimization
  • Substance use
  • Victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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