Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Understanding the link between exposure to violence and aggression in justice-involved adolescents

  • Tina D. Wall Myers (a1), Abigail Salcedo (a2), Paul J. Frick (a3) (a4), James V. Ray (a5), Laura C. Thornton (a6), Laurence Steinberg (a7) (a8) and Elizabeth Cauffman (a9)...

Abstract

The current study advanced research on the link between community violence exposure and aggression by comparing the effects of violence exposure on different functions of aggression and by testing four potential (i.e., callous–unemotional traits, consideration of others, impulse control, and anxiety) mediators of this relationship. Analyses were conducted in an ethnically/racially diverse sample of 1,216 male first-time juvenile offenders (M = 15.30 years, SD = 1.29). Our results indicated that violence exposure had direct effects on both proactive and reactive aggression 18 months later. The predictive link of violence exposure to proactive aggression was no longer significant after controlling for proactive aggression at baseline and the overlap with reactive aggression. In contrast, violence exposure predicted later reactive aggression even after controlling for baseline reactive aggression and the overlap with proactive aggression. Mediation analyses of the association between violence exposure and reactive aggression indicated indirect effects through all potential mediators, but the strongest indirect effect was through impulse control. The findings help to advance knowledge on the consequences of community violence exposure on justice-involved youth.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Tina D. Wall Myers, Department of Psychology, University of Dayton, 300 College Park, Zehler 311, Dayton, OH 45469; E-mail: tmyers1@udayton.edu.

References

Hide All
Anastassiou-Hadjicharalambous, X., & Warden, D. (2008). Physiologically-indexed and self-perceived affective empathy in conduct-disordered children high and low on callous-unemotional traits. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 39, 503517. doi:10.1007/s10578-008-0104-y
Archer, J., & Coyne, S. (2005). An integrated review of indirect, relational, and social aggression. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 9, 212230. doi:10.1207/s15327957pspr0903_2
Attar, B. K., Guerra, N. G., & Tolan, P. H. (1994). Neighborhood disadvantage, stressful life events, and adjustment in urban elementary-school children. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 23, 391400. doi:10.1207/s15374424jccp2304_5
Baker, L. A., Raine, A., Liu, J., & Jacobson, K. C. (2008). Differential genetic and environmental influences on reactive and proactive aggression in children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 36, 12651278. doi:10.1007/s10802-008-9249-1
Begle, A. M., Hanson, R. F., Danielson, C. K., McCart, M. R., Ruggiero, K. J., Amstadter, A. B., … Kilpatrick, D. G. (2011). Longitudinal pathways of victimization, substance use, and delinquency: Findings from the National Survey of Adolescents. Addictive Behaviors, 36, 682689. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2010.12.026
Buka, S. L., Stichick, T. L., Birdthistle, I., & Earls, F. J. (2001). Youth exposure to violence prevalence, risks, and consequences. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 71, 298310. doi:10.1037/0002-9432.71.3.298
Chorpita, B. F., Yim, L., Moffitt, C., Umemoto, L. A., & Francis, S. E. (2000). Assessment of symptoms of DSM-IV anxiety and depression in children: A revised child anxiety and depression scale. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 38, 835855. doi:10.1016/S0005-7967(99)00130-8
Cicchetti, D., & Lynch, M. (1995). Failures in the expectable environment and their impact on individual development: The case of child maltreatment. In Cicchetti, D. & Cohen, D. J. (Eds.), Developmental psychopathology: Vol. 2. Risk disorder, and adaptation. Oxford: Wiley.
Cooley-Quille, M., Boyd, R. C., Frantz, E., & Walsh, J. (2001). Emotional and behavioral impact of exposure to community violence in inner-city adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 30, 199206. doi:10.1207/S15374424JCCP3002_7
Crapanzano, A. M., Frick, P. J., & Terranova, A. M. (2010). Patterns of physical and relational aggression in a school-based sample of boys and girls. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 38, 433445. doi:10.1007/s10802-009-9376-3
De Bellis, M. D. (2005). The psychobiology of neglect. Child Maltreatment, 10, 150172. doi:10.1177/1077559505275116
Del Giudice, M., Ellis, B. J., & Shirtcliff, E. A. (2011). The adaptive calibration model of stress responsivity. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 35, 15621592. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2010.11.007
Dembo, R., Jainchill, N., Turner, C., Fong, C., Farkas, S., & Childs, K. (2007). Levels of psychopathy and its correlates: A study of incarcerated youths in three states. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 25, 717738. doi:10.1002/bsl.784
de Wied, M., van Boxtel, A., Matthys, W., & Meeus, W. (2012). Verbal, facial and autonomic responses to empathy-eliciting film clips by disruptive male adolescents with high versus low callous-unemotional traits. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 40, 211223. doi:10.1007/s10802-011-9557-8
Eremsoy, C. E., Karanci, A. N., & Berument, S. K. (2011). Psychometric properties of the antisocial process screening device in a non-clinical sample of Turkish children. Social and Behavioral Science, 30, 23192323. doi:10.1016/j.ridd.2014.01.008
Esbjorn, B. H., Somhovd, M. J., Turnstedt, C., & Reinholdt-Dunne, M. L. (2012). Assessing the Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale (RCADS) in a national sample of Danish youth aged 8–16 years. PLOS ONE, 7, 15. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037339
Essau, C. A., Sasagawa, S., & Frick, P. J. (2006). Callous–unemotional traits in community sample of adolescents. Assessment, 13, 454–446. doi:10.1177/1073191106287354
Fanti, K. A., Frick, P. J., & Georgiou, S. (2009). Linking callous-unemotional traits to instrumental and non-instrumental forms of aggression. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 31, 285298. doi:10.1007/s10862-008-9111-3
Farrell, A. D., & Sullivan, T. N. (2000). Structure of the Weinberger Adjustment Inventory Self-Restraint Scale and its relation to problem behaviors in adolescence. Psychological Assessment, 12, 394401. doi:10.1037/1040-3590.12.4.394
Field, A. (2013). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS statistics (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Fitzpatrick, K. M., Piko, B. F., Wright, D. R., & LaGory, M. (2005). Depressive symptomatology, exposure to violence, and the role of social capital among African American adolescents. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 75, 262274. doi:10.1037/0002-9432.75.2.262
Ford, J. D., Chapman, J., Connor, D. F., & Cruise, K. R. (2012). Complex trauma and aggression in secure juvenile justice settings. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 39, 694724. doi:10.1177/0093854812436957
Foster, J. D., Kuperminc, G. P., & Price, A. W. (2004). Gender differences in posttraumatic stress and related symptoms among inner-city minority youth exposed to community violence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 33, 5969.
Fowler, P. J., Tompsett, C. J., Braciszewski, J. M., Jacques-Tiura, A. J., & Baltes, B. B. (2009). Community violence: A meta-analysis on the effect of exposure and mental health outcomes of children and adolescents. Development and Psychopathology, 21, 227259. doi:10.1017/S0954579409000145
Frick, P. J., Cornell, A. H., Barry, C. T., Bodin, S. D., & Dane, H. E. (2003). Callous-unemotional traits and conduct problems in the prediction of conduct problem severity, aggression, and self-report of delinquency. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 31, 457470.
Frick, P. J., Ray, J. V., Thornton, L. C., & Kahn, R. E. (2014). Can callous-unemotional traits enhance the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of serious conduct problems in children and adolescents? A comprehensive review. Psychological Bulletin, 140, 157. doi:10.1037/a0033076
Gauthier, K. J., Furr, R. M., Mathias, C. W., Marsh-Richard, D. M., & Dougherty, D. M. (2009). Differentiating impulsive and premeditated aggression: Self and informant perspective among adolescents with personality pathology. Journal of Personality Disorders, 23, 7684. doi:10.1521/pedi.2009.23.1.76
Guerra, N. G., Huesmann, L. R., & Spindler, A. (2003). Community violence exposure, social cognition, and aggression among urban elementary school children. Child Development, 74, 15611576. doi:10.1111/1467-8624.00623
Hamner, T., Latzman, R. D., & Chan, W. Y. (2015). Exposure to community violence, parental involvement, and aggression among immigrant adolescents. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24, 32473257. doi:10.1007/s10826-015-0128-4
Hastings, P. D., Zahn-Waxler, C., & McShane, K. (2006). We are, by nature, moral creatures: Biological bases on concern for others In Killen, M. & Smetana, J. G. (Eds.), Handbook of moral development. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Hubbard, J. A., Smithmyer, C. M., Ramsden, S. R., Park, E. H., Flanagan, K. D., Dearing, K. F., … Simons, R. F. (2002). Observational, physiological, and self-report measures of children's anger: Relations to reactive versus proactive aggression. Child Development, 73, 11011118. doi:10.1111/1467-8624.00460
IBM Corp. (2015). IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 23.0. Armonk, NY: Author.
Kimonis, E. R., Frick, P. J., Fazekas, H., & Loney, B. R. (2006). Psychopathy, aggression, and the emotional processing of emotional stimuli in non-referred girls and boys. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 24, 2137. doi:10.1002/bsl.668
Kimonis, E. R., Frick, P. J., Munoz, L. C., & Aucoin, K. J. (2008). Callous-unemotional traits and the emotional processing of distress cues in detained boys: Testing the moderating role of aggression, exposure to community violence, and histories of abuse. Developmental and Psychopathology, 20, 569589. doi:10.1017/S095457940800028X
Kimonis, E. R., Frick, P. J., Skeem, J. L., Marsee, M. A., Cruise, K., Munoz, L. C., & Morris, A. S. (2008). Assessing callous-unemotional traits in adolescent offenders: Validation of the Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 31, 241252. doi:10.1016/j.ijlp.2008.04.002
Kimonis, E. R., Ray, J. V., Branch, J. R., & Cauffman, E. (2011). Anger mediates the relation between violence exposure and violence perpetration in incarcerated boys. Child & Youth Care Forum, 40, 381400. doi:10.1007/s10566-010-9121-7
Kruh, I. P., Frick, P. J., & Clements, C. B. (2005). Historical and personality correlates to the violence patterns of juveniles tried as adults. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 32, 6996. doi:10.1177/0093854804270629
Larson, J., & Lochman, J. E. (2003). Review of helping schoolchildren cope with anger. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 42, 508509. doi:10.1097/01.CHI.0000037044.04952.27
Levitt, L. (2010). The comparative risk of mistreatment for juveniles in detention facilities and state prisons. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 9, 4454. doi:10.1080/14999013.2010.483344
Little, T. D., Jones, S. M., Henrich, C. C., & Hawley, P. H. (2003). Disentagling the “whys” from the “whats” of aggressive behaviour. International Journal of Behavioural Development, 27, 122133. doi:110.1080/01650250244000128
Lozier, L. M., Cardinale, E. M., VanMeter, J. W., & Marsh, A. A. (2014). Mediation of the relationship between callous-unemotional traits and proactive aggression by amygdala response to fear among children with conduct problems. JAMA Psychiatry, 71, 627636. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.4540
Margolin, G., & Gordis, E. B. (2004). Children's exposure to violence in the family and community. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 13, 152155. doi:10.111/j.0963-7214.2004.00296.x
Marsee, M. A., Barry, C. T., Childs, K. K., Frick, P. J., Kimonis, E. R., Muñoz, L. C., … Lau, K. S. (2011). Assessing the forms and functions of aggression using self-report: Factor structure and invariance of the Peer Conflict Scale in youths. Psychological Assessment, 23, 792. doi:10.1037/a0023369
Marsee, M. A., & Frick, P. J. (2007). Exploring the cognitive and emotional correlates to proactive and reactive aggression in a sample of detained girls. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 35, 969981. doi:10.1007/s10802-007-9147-y
Marsee, M. A., Frick, P. J., Barry, C. T., Kimonis, E. R., Centifanti, L. C. M., & Aucoin, K. J. (2014). Profiles of the forms and functions of self-reported aggression in three adolescent samples. Development and Psychopathology, 26, 705720. doi:10.1017/S0954579414000339
Marsh, A. A., Finger, E. C., Mitchell, D. G. V., Reid, M. E., Sims, C., Kosson, D. S., … Blair, R. J. R. (2008). Reduced amygdala response to fearful expressions in children and adolescents with callous-unemotional traits and disruptive behavior disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry, 165, 712720. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2007.07071145
Maschi, T., & Bradley, C. (2008). Exploring the moderating influence of delinquent peers on the link between trauma, anger, and violence among male youth: Implications for social work practice. Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal, 25, 125138. doi:10.1007/s10560-008-0116-2
Matheison, L. C., & Crick, N. R. (2010). Reactive and proactive subtypes of relational and physical aggression in middle childhood: Links to concurrent and longitudinal adjustment. School Psychology Review, 39, 601611.
Miller, G. E., Chen, E., & Zhou, E. S. (2007). If it goes up, must it come down? Chronic stress and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis in humans. Psychological Bulletin, 133, 2545. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.133.1.25
Moffitt, T., Caspi, A., Rutter, M., & Silva, P. (2001). Sex differences in antisocial behavior: Conduct disorder, delinquency, and violence in the Dunedin longitudinal study. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Munoz, L. C., Frick, P. J., Kimonis, E. R., & Aucoin, K. J. (2008). Types of aggression, responsiveness to provocation, and callous-unemotional traits in detained adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 36, 1528. doi:10.1007/s10802-007-9137-0
O'Donnell, L., Stueve, A., Myint-U, A., Duran, R., Argonick, G., & Wilson-Simmons, R. (2006). Middle school aggression and subsequent intimate partner violence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 35, 693703. doi:10.1007/10964-006-9086-x
Overstreet, S. (2000). Exposure to community violence: Defining the problem and understanding the consequences. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 9, 715. doi:10.1023/A:1009403530517
Phillips, N. C., & Lochman, J. E. (2003). Experimentally manipulated change in children's proactive and reactive aggressive behavior. Aggressive Behavior, 29, 215227. doi:10.1002/ab.10028
Pollak, S. D. (2008). Mechanisms linking early experience and the emergence of emotions: Illustrations from the study of maltreated children. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17, 370375. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8721.2008.00608.x
Preacher, K. J., & Kelley, K. (2011). Effect size measures for mediation models: Quantitative strategies for communicating indirect effects. Psychological Methods, 16, 93115. doi:10.1037/a0022658
Roberts, B. W., & DelVecchio, W. F. (2000). The rank-order consistency of personality traits from childhood to old age: A quantitative review of longitudinal studies. Psychological Bulletin, 126, 325. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.126.1.3
Roose, A., Bijttebier, P., Decoene, S., Claes, L., & Frick, P. J. (2010). Assessing the affective features of psychopathy in adolescence: A further validation of the inventory of callous and unemotional traits. Assessment, 17, 4457. doi:10.1177/1073191109344153
Rosario, M., Salzinger, S., Feldman, R. S., & Ng-Mak, D. S. (2008). Intervening processes between youths’ exposure to community violence and internalizing symptoms over time: The roles of social support and coping. American Journal of Community Psychology, 41, 4362. doi:10.1007/s10464-007-9147-7
Scarpa, A., Tanaka, A., & Haden, S. C. (2008). Biosocial bases of reactive and proactive aggression: The roles of community violence exposure and heart rate. Journal of Community Psychology, 36, 969988. doi:10.1002/jcop.20276
Schwartz, D., & Proctor, L. (2000). Community violence exposure and children's social adjustment in the school peer group: The mediating roles of emotion regulation and social cognition. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68, 670683. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.68.4.670
Selner-O'Hagan, M. B., Kindlon, D. J., Buka, S. L., Raudenbush, S. W., & Earls, F. J. (1998). Assessing exposure to violence in urban youth. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 39, 215224. doi:10.1017/S002196309700187X
Shields, A., & Cicchetti, D. (1998). Reactive aggression among maltreated children: The contributions of attention and emotion dysregulation. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 27, 381395. doi:10.1207/s15374424jccp2704_2
Stadler, C., Kroeger, A., Weyers, P., Grasmann, D., Horschinek, M., Freitag, C., & Clement, H. W. (2011). Cortisol reactivity in boys with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and disruptive behavior problems: The impact of callous unemotional traits. Psychiatry Research, 187, 204209. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2010.05.004
Stein, B. D., Jaycox, L. H., Kataoka, S., Rhodes, H. J., & Vestal, K. D. (2003). Prevalence of child and adolescent exposure to community violence. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 6, 247264.
Thornton, L. C., Frick, P. J., Crapanzano, A. M., & Terranova, A. M. (2013). The incremental utility of callous-unemotional traits and conduct problems in predicting aggression and bullying in a community sample of boys and girls. Psychological Assessment, 25, 366378. doi:10.1037/a0031153
Viding, E., Sebastian, C. L., Dadds, M. R., Lockwood, P. L., Cecil, C. A., & DeBrito, S. A. (2012). Amygdala response to preattentive masked fear in children with conduct problems: The role of callous-unemotional traits. Amerian Journal of Psychiatry, 169, 11091116. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2012.12020191
Wasserman, G. A., & McReynolds, L. S. (2011). Contributors to traumatic exposure and posttraumatic stress disorder in juvenile justice youths. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 24, 422429. doi:10.1002/jts.20664
Wechsler, D. (1999). Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI). San Antonio, TX: Psychological Corporation.
Weinberger, D. A., & Schwartz, G. E. (1990). Distress and restraint as superordinate dimensions of self-reported adjustment: A typological perspective. Journal of Personality, 52, 381417. doi:10.1111/j.1467-6494.1990.tb00235.x
White, S. F., Marsh, A. A., Fowler, K. A., Schechter, J. C., Adalio, C., Pope, K., … Blair, R. J. R. (2012). Reduced amygdala response in youths with disruptive behavior disorders and psychopathic traits: Decreased emotional response versus increased top-down attention to non-emotional features. American Journal of Psychiatry, 169, 750758. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2012.11081270

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed