Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The relationship between exposure to violence and depression: An ecological model of protective factors among African American adolescents
by Matlin, Samantha L., Ph.D., The George Washington University, 2008, 108; 3311307
Abstract (Summary)

Depression among youth is recognized as a significant public health concern. Increased research has focused on identifying risk and protective factors for depression among youth. However, limited attention has been directed at examining community-level risk factors for depression, such exposure to violence, or has focused on ethnic minority groups, such as African American adolescents. This study examined the relationship between 3 types of exposure to violence (community, family, and school) and depressive symptoms among 212 (133 females; 79 females) African American high school students. An ecological model of depression based on Bronfenbrenner's (1979) ecological system's theory is presented that includes multiple protective factors at three levels (individual-level, micro-level, meso-level). Although the proposed model was not supported, exposure to violence as a risk factor and several compensatory factors for depressive symptoms were identified. Exposure to community violence and exposure to school violence were associated with increased depressive symptoms. Increased feelings of self-acceptance, racial identity, family support, peer support, and neighborhood cohesion were associated with fewer depressive symptoms. Results highlight the importance of examining both individual and community-level risk and protective factors. Implications of the findings for the development of culturally relevant preventive interventions that target youth who are exposed to violence are discussed.

KEY WORDS: community violence exposure; depression, African Americans; adolescents; protective factors

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Molock, Sherry Davis
Commitee: Elmore, Diane, Lambert, Sharon, Moore, Phillip, Petersom, Rolf, Zea, Maria Cecilia
School: The George Washington University
Department: Psychology
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-B 69/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: African Americans, Psychotherapy
Keywords: Adolescents, African-American, Community violence exposure, Depression, Protective, Protective factors, Violence exposure
Publication Number: 3311307
ISBN: 9780549615545
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