Cumulative experiences of violence among high-risk urban youth

Catherine A Taylor, Neil W Boris, Sherryl Scott Heller, Gretchen A Clum, Janet C Rice, Charles H Zeanah
Journal of Interpersonal Violence 2008, 23 (11): 1618-35
This study examines type-specific and cumulative experiences of violence among a vulnerable population of youth. Sixty high-risk, shelter-dwelling, urban youth were interviewed regarding their history of childhood maltreatment, exposure to community violence (ECV), and experience with intimate partner violence (IPV). Results show a high prevalence and high degree of overlap among multiple types of violence exposure. Childhood physical, sexual (CSA), and emotional (CEA) abuse were interrelated and were associated with ECV. Cumulative experiences of childhood abuse (CCA) had a graded association with IPV victimization. In multivariate analyses, CCA and ECV were independently associated with IPV victimization. Gender moderated the effect of one association: CEA raised the risk of IPV victimization for girls but not for boys. Only CSA predicted IPV perpetration. Findings suggest that cumulative exposures to violence create cumulative risk for experiencing more violence. Shelter-dwelling, urban youth may be particularly vulnerable to this additive effect.

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