Online Program

Children's multi-level violence exposures, contextual stressors, and mental health outcomes: Emotionally regulated coping as a resource for resilience

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 10:30 a.m. - 10:50 a.m.

Tamim Mohammad, MA, Psychology, Health Promotion Research Team, University of Massachusetts, Boston, Boston, MA
Ester R. Shapiro, PhD, Psychology and Gaston Institute Center, University of Massachusetts at Boston, Boston, MA
This study applies an ecological stress process model (Foster & Brooks-Gunn, 2009) of children's exposure to violence (ETV) to examine (a) associations between family and community violence exposures and child mental health adjustment, and (b) the role of emotionally-regulated coping (ERC) as a protective factor in the association between ETV and child mental health. The sample consisted of poor, predominantly Latino school-age children (n=126) from ninety-one housed and homeless single-parenting families in which the majority of children were exposed to multiple forms of violence. Mothers provided demographic information, self-reported on experiences of partner violence, and reported on their child's history of physical and sexual abuse, community violence exposures, and symptoms of PTSD and externalizing behaviors. Children self-reported on exposure to community violence, internalizing symptoms, and coping. Structural equation modeling was used to test hypothesized negative mental health impacts of multilevel ETV, and to examine ERC as potentially moderating associations between ETV and child mental health. Exposure to family abuse (EFA) was uniquely associated with PTSD, and community violence exposure with symptoms of anxiety and aggression. EFA was more strongly associated with anxiety, aggression and PTSD for children reporting less effective ERC than for those reporting more effective ERC. While particular forms of violence were associated with specific mental health outcomes, support for ERC may offer children, families and communities a resource for mental health resilience in contexts of stressors outside their control, offering a useful target for intervention and prevention services in community and educational as well as clinical settings.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Identify the stressful contexts in which children, families and communities experience multiple violence exposures. Evaluate the role of emotionally regulated coping as a resilience resource in protecting child mental health. Explore the utility of emotionally regulated child coping within an ecological stress process model to design and implement family violence mitigation and prevention practice, supporting child, family and community resilience and wellness.

Keyword(s): Violence Prevention, Ethnic Minorities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral student in the Health Promotion Research Team in the Clinical Psychology Program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.