Online Program

Associations of area-level crime rates and self-reported crime exposure with adolescent behavioral health

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 12:50 p.m. - 1:10 p.m.

Erin Grinshteyn, PhD, School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nevada, Reno, Reno, NV
Haiyong Xu, PhD, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Brigitte Manteuffel, PhD, Health and Social Development, American Institutes for Research, Atlanta, NV
Susan Ettner, PhD, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Division of General Internal Medicine & Health Services Research Jonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health Department of Health Policy and Management, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Background: Direct exposure to violent crime is associated with poorer behavioral health outcomes. Although research suggests that witnessing crime is associated with adverse outcomes, the effects of witnessing and experiencing crime are difficult to disaggregate. Little research has assessed the effect of multiple direct and indirect exposures to violent and non-violent crime. We assess the independent contributions of direct and indirect crime exposure and area-level crime rates on behavioral health outcomes among adolescents.

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

Learning Objectives:
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.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

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.