Witnessed Community Violence and Antisocial Behavior in High-Risk, Urban Boys

Laurie S. Miller, Gail A. Wasserman, Richard Neugebauer, Deborah Gorman-Smith, Dimitra Kamboukos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Examined the longitudinal relation between children's self-report of witnessing, community violence, family environment, and parent report of child antisocial behavior in a sample of 6- to 10-year-old urban American boys (N = 97) at familial risk for antisocial behavior. Boys reported high rates of lifetime exposure to community violence. Boys' reports of witnessing community violence were significantly positively related to changes over 15 months in child antisocial behavior, even after controlling for the possible effects of 3 aspects of parent-child interactions shown previously to be related to problematic child behavior. Furthermore, family environment, particularly the degree to which parents engaged in conflict with their sons, moderated the effect of witnessed violence on changes in antisocial behavior. In families with low conflict, higher levels of witnessed violence predicted increases in antisocial behavior over time. In contrast, in families with relatively high levels of parent-child conflict, high-witnessed violence had no additional influence on antisocial outcome. This is the first prospective longitudinal study to document an association between witnessed community violence and changes in antisocial behavior in young, urban boys at familial risk for antisocial behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-11
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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