Exposure to Violence and Grades: What Role Do Adults Play?

Publication Date



The active support of caring adults is an important resource in child and adolescent development. The unique role of adult support has been explored as a buffer between the effect of youth exposure to community violence and the proposed effect on academic functioning. Research has shown that there are a number of negative effects for youth exposed to violence including a negative impact on academic functioning. Adult support from parents and teachers has been shown to provide a protective factor from negative psychological influences among youth and a resource related to school performance. Following the stress-buffering hypothesis, a model was tested examining the moderating influence of adults in buffering the negative effects of violence exposure on youth's academic functioning. Findings from data gathered from youth residing in predominately violent communities supported previous research that demonstrated a positive relation between adolescent's exposure to violence and poor academic functioning. Adult support, however, did not moderate the effect of violence exposure on academic functioning. Implications and limitations of these findings suggest that adults play an important role in the lives of youth, but future research is needed in order to discern why support does not reduce the consequences of violence exposure.

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (PsyD)

First Advisor

Wagener, Linda M.

Document Type





Youth and violence, Youth development, Parent and teenager, Adolescent psychology, Problem youth




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