Perceived neighborhood violence and crime, emotion regulation, and PTSD symptoms Among Justice-Involved, Urban African-American adolescent girls

Shufang Sun, Natasha Crooks, Ralph J. Diclemente, Jessica M. Sales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: African-American adolescent girls in urban areas are overrepresented in the juvenile justice system, and they are also disproportionately impacted by neighborhood violence and crime (NVC), which has been shown to positively associate with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Guided by an ecological (individual X context) perspective, the present study aimed to examine the main and interactive effects of perceived NVC and emotion regulation (ER) strategies in a sample of justice-involved, urban African-American adolescent girls (n = 85) following their release from detention centers. Method: We investigated this research question longitudinally. Multiple linear regression models were conducted. PTSD symptoms at 3 months after release was used as the outcome variable, predicted by ER strategies, perceived NVC, and their interactions before release, controlling for PTSD symptoms and a brief screening of trauma events assessed beforen release. Simple slope analysis was used to probe significant interaction terms. Results: The main effects of perceived NVC and dysfunctional ER were significant. A significant interaction effect was found between perceived NVC and internal dysfunction ER at baseline to predict PTSD symptoms at 3 months after release. High levels of internal dysfunctional ER intensified the positive association of baseline perceived NVC and PTSD symptoms. Conclusions: Justice-involved African-American adolescent girls who report high NVC and use dysfunctional ER strategies are particularly vulnerable to the development of PTSD symptoms. Interventions with this population may benefit from targeting dysfunctional ER strategies to mitigate or prevent neighborhood violence related PTSD symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • African American
  • Emotion regulation
  • Justice-involved girls
  • Neighborhood violence
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Emotional Regulation
  • Humans
  • Residence Characteristics/statistics & numerical data
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/epidemiology
  • Southeastern United States/epidemiology
  • African Americans/statistics & numerical data
  • Adolescent
  • Crime/statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Juvenile Delinquency/statistics & numerical data
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Urban Population/statistics & numerical data
  • Exposure to Violence/statistics & numerical data

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology


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