Associations of area-level crime rates and self-reported crime exposure with adolescent behavioral health
Methods: We linked data on 5,519 adolescents from the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and their Families Program to crime rate data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports to assess associations of six mutually exclusive categories of self-reported crime exposure and area-level crime rates with internalizing and externalizing Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) scores, Reynolds Adolescent Depression Scale (RADS) scores, and Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN) Substance Problems Scale scores. Multivariate linear regression models were employed.
Results: Area-level crime rates were associated with externalizing CBCL scores. Crime exposure was significantly associated with poorer behavioral health outcomes. Violent victimization had the largest association with all outcomes except internalizing CBCL scores. All self-reported crime exposure variables were significantly associated with worse externalizing CBCL scores. Seeing non-violent crime was associated with worse internalizing CBCL scores. Four of the five exposures were associated with worse scores on the RADS and GAIN.
Conclusions: Providers should assess direct and indirect exposure to crime in adolescent populations and policy should target those with crime exposure to ameliorate these effects.
Learning Areas:Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Public health or related research
Differentiate the effects of various forms of direct and indirect exposure to crime on behavioral health outcomes. Formulate ideas for how better variables measuring exposure to violence could help design better programs and policies.
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My research has focused on exposure to violence, exposure to crime, and behavioral health outcomes. I have worked on multiple studies that examine the relationships in these areas. I also teach courses that focus on crime, fear, violence, and behavioral health outcomes.
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.