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Are there detrimental effects of witnessing school violence in early adolescence?

https://arctichealth.org/en/permalink/ahliterature154085
Source
J Adolesc Health. 2008 Dec;43(6):600-8
Publication Type
Article
Date
Dec-2008
Author
Michel Janosz
Isabelle Archambault
Linda S Pagani
Sophie Pascal
Alexandre J S Morin
François Bowen
Author Affiliation
School of Psychoeducation, University of Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada. michel.janosz@umontreal.ca
Source
J Adolesc Health. 2008 Dec;43(6):600-8
Date
Dec-2008
Language
English
Publication Type
Article
Keywords
Adaptation, Psychological
Adolescent
Adolescent Behavior - psychology
Child
Crime Victims - psychology - statistics & numerical data
Cross-Sectional Studies
Female
Humans
Juvenile Delinquency - statistics & numerical data
Male
Prospective Studies
Quebec - epidemiology
Schools - statistics & numerical data
Sex Factors
Socioeconomic Factors
Violence - psychology - statistics & numerical data
Abstract
We prospectively tested the extent to which witnessing school violence predicts psychosocial and school adjustment in students while accounting for their prior psychosocial characteristics and peer victimization. We also explored the role of feelings of insecurity in explaining this relationship.
Questionnaires were administered to 1104 students (52% boys) from five high schools from the Montreal area (Quebec, Canada) at the beginning, middle, and end of seventh grade. Self report measures included sociodemographic characteristics, victimization, witnessing violence, feelings of insecurity, internalizing and externalizing behavior problems, and measures of engagement, achievement, and truancy as indicators of school adjustment.
Witnessing school violence was a comparatively better predictor of subsequent externalizing problems and school adjustment than actual victimization. Conversely, relative to having experienced violence as a witness, actual victimization more reliably estimated later internalizing problems. Feelings of insecurity partially explained the development of school engagement and truancy.
Our findings underscore the implications of school violence as a public health and safety issue, the consideration of witnessing as important in estimating its impact, and a comprehensive approach when developing and implementing strategies that aim to prevent this form of community violence.
PubMed ID
19027649 View in PubMed
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