Chicano Studies Article Discussion Read the article below and write a five paragraph summary while answering the 5 questions below in the files section. No

Chicano Studies Article Discussion Read the article below and write a five paragraph summary while answering the 5 questions below in the files section. No plagiarism and good grammar please. Also, please make it look like the file below, so make a chart and break down each question (exactly how it shows in the files named 5Ws). Inner-City Children’s Exposure to Community Violence: How Much Do Parents Know?
Author(s): Rosario Ceballo, Trayci A. Dahl, Maria T. Aretakis, Cynthia Ramirez
Reviewed work(s):
Source: Journal of Marriage and Family, Vol. 63, No. 4 (Nov., 2001), pp. 927-940
Published by: National Council on Family Relations
Stable URL: .
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Journal of Marriage and Family.
Universityof Michigan
Exposureto Community
How MuchDo ParentsKnow?
This study examinesthe psychologicalimpactof
children’sexposureto violenceand the influence
of mothers’knowledgeabout their children’s encounterswith violence. Our sample consists of a
poor, multiethnicsample of 104 fourth- or fifthgrade childrenand theirmothers.Childrenin this
samplewere exposedto ratherhigh levels of communityviolence,and on the whole,mothersgreatly underestimatedtheir children’sexposureto violence and feelings of psychological distress.
Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that
children’s exposure to violence was associated
with greaterpsychologicaldistress. Ourfindings
suggest that the detrimentaleffectsof community
violenceare presentfor all children,irrespective
of theirracial background.Further,greatermother-child agreementabout children’sexposureto
violencewas relatedto betterpsychologicalfunctioning. The implicationsof these resultsfor effective parentingstrategiesand community-based
interventionsare discussed.
It is an unfortunateyet all too commonfact that
many poor, inner-citychildrenare continuously
and chronicallyexposed to communityviolence.
Whereasthe nationpubliclymournsthe shootings
viat schools such as Columbine,life-threatening
olence is a daily obstacle for many childrenin
Departmentof Psychology, University of Michigan, 525
East University, Ann Arbor,MI 48109.
Key Words:communityviolence, parenting, psychological
well-being, vicarious victimization.
impoverishedurbanfamilies.It is not simply adolescents residingin cities, but even young, elementaryschool-agedchildrenwho reportexceedingly high ratesof exposureto violence (Richters
& Martinez, 1993; Schwab-Stoneet al., 1999;
Singer,Anglin,Song, & Lunghofer,1995). Moreover, exposureto communityviolence has many
negative repercussions for children’s mental
health(Bell & Jenkins,1991;Fitzpatrick& Boldizar,1993;Hill & Madhere,1996).Randominnercity violence has thus emergedas a problemof
paramountimportancein many poverty-stricken
to this study is consistentwith Bronfenbrenner’s
(1986) ecological perspectivethatcontextualvariables will affect family processesand children’s
developmentalpathways.Despite widespreadacceptanceof this theory,it has not been until relatively recentlythat researchershave focused attention on the impactof communityviolence in
The purposesof the presentpaper are threefold. The firstgoal is to documentratesof exposureto violenceamonga poor,multiethnicsample
of fourth-and fifth-gradechildrenand to investigate the extentof mothers’knowledgeabouttheir
children’sexposureto urbanviolenceandthe psychological effects of that violence. Second, we
will explorewhetherseveralindividualchild and
parentcharacteristicsare relatedto poor mothers’
knowledge of their children’sexposure to violence. Finally,we will use hierarchicalregression
analysesto investigatehow children’sexposureto
Journalof Marriageand Family63 (November2001): 927-940
violence, vicariousexperiencesof victimization,
fear of crime, and mothers’knowledgeof children’sviolence exposureare relatedto children’s
children’sexposureto communityviolence may
have importantimplicationsfor effective parenting behaviorandfor the developmentof interventions that assist parentsin helping their children
to cope with the psychologicaleffects of urban
Journal of Marriage and Family
exposed to chroniccommunityviolence manifest
symptomsthat are indicativeof every diagnostic
criterionof posttraumaticstress disorder(PTSD;
Bell & Jenkins,1991; Gladsteinet al., 1992; Lorion & Saltzman,1993; Pynoos & Nader, 1990,
1988). In children,PTSD symptomsmay include
the following:reexperiencingtraumaticevents in
dreamsandplay,constrictedaffect,diminishedinterest in once pleasurableactivities, startlereactions, sleep problems,and avoidancebehaviors.
We contendthat it is not simply directexperiences with violence that have a detrimentalefTHE PSYCHOLOGICAL
fect on children’swell-beingbut that living with
an ever-presentthreatof randomviolence and the
Evidenceof children’sexposureto communityvivicariousexperiencesof others’victimizationmay
olence in poor urbanneighborhoodsis provided also affect children’spsychologicalfunctioning.
Hill and Madhere(1996) reportedthat violence
by numerousinvestigations.In a sample of 170
fifth and sixth gradersattendinga metropolitan apprehensionwas relatedto anxietyand confronschool system, over 80%reportedregularlyhear- tational behavioramong 150 African American
ing the soundsof gunfirein their neighborhoods, children.Likewise,JenkinsandBell (1994) found
and one in every six of these childrenreported that childrenwho reportedfeeling unsafeon their
havingwitnesseda homicide(Lorion& Saltzman, way to school also reportedhigherlevels of psy1993). Gladstein, Rusonis, and Heald (1992)
chologicaldistress.Fear of crime may be further
found that in a group of 403 inner-cityadoles- compoundedby children’svicariousexperienceof
violence via friendsand family members.Indeed,
cents, 9% reportedthatthey themselveshadbeen
assaultedwith a weapon, and 22% reportedthat childrenoften know the victims of crime in their
theirlives had been threatened.These figuresare
communities. Among 1,000 Chicago students,
in sharpcontrastto their comparisonsample of
39% reportedwitnessinga shooting,and 50% of
435 upper-middle-classyouths. In this latter the shootingvictims were known to the children
group,2% reportedthat they had been assaulted as friends,classmates,neighbors,or family memwith a weapon, and 12% had had their lives
bers (Bell & Jenkins,1993). In a sample of Balthreatened.In a large,urbansampleof over 3,500
timore adolescents,over 45% reportedknowing
someonewho had been assaultedwith a weapon,
high school students,82% of the adolescentsrerobbed,knifed, or murdered,and 67% reported
ported incidents of witnessing communityviolence (Singeret al., 1995). Takentogether,these
knowing someone who had been shot (Gladstein
and many otherfindingsprovidecompellingdocet al., 1992). Thus, it is conceivablethatchildren
umentationof the high rates of chronicexposure experiencedistresscausedby a pervasivefear of
to urban violence facing many poor, inner-city violence and secondarytraumavia theirrelationchildren.
ship with a friendor familymemberwho has been
victimized(Jenkins& Bell).
Exposure to community violence is consequentlyrelatedto a host of detrimentaloutcomes,
includinga wide arrayof behavioraland psychoPARENTINGCHILDRENIN A CONTEXTOF
logical difficulties.Several studies have specifiPOVERTYAND URBAN VIOLENCE
cally found that children’sexposureto violence
increasestheir susceptibilityto externalizingbeThe challenges facing parentsin impoverished,
haviorproblems(Cooley-Quille,Turner,& Beidel,
high-riskneighborhoodsare numerous.Although
1995; Gorman-Smith& Tolan, 1998; Schwab- the links between children’sviolence exposure
Stone et al., 1999) and general anxiety and disandpsychologicaldifficultieshave been well doctress (Hill & Madhere,1996; Singeret al., 1995).
umented,less attentionhas been focused on parMoreover,Schwab-Stoneand colleaguesreported ents’ awarenessof the environmental
dangersfacthat a relationbetween adolescents’exposureto
ing theirchildren.In a sampleof 96 children,ages
violence and externalizingbehavior was main- 9 to 12 years,Hill andJones(1997) reportedstriktained over a 2-year time period.Additionally,a
ing discrepanciesbetweenparents’and children’s
numberof studies indicatethat childrenwho are
perceptionsof children’sexposure to violence.
Community Violence
Whereas the majorityof parentsindicatedthat
their childrenhad not been exposed to any incidents of violence, only 15%of the childrengave
concurringreports.Martinezand Richterscomparedchild and parentreportsof children’sviolence exposure and distress symptomsamong a
sampleof 165 children,ages 6 to 10 years (Martinez & Richters, 1993; Richters & Martinez,
1993). They similarlyfoundthatparentsgenerally
underestimatedchildren’sreportsof violence exposure and emotionaldistress.A lack of awareness aboutchildren’sviolence exposuremay impair parents’ ability to effectively monitor and
supervisetheir children.In fact, several investigators identify close monitoringand supervision
as an especially efficacious strategyamong parents whose childrenface environmentalrisks and
adversity(Baldwin,Baldwin,& Cole, 1990; Mason, Cauce, Gonzales, & Hiraga, 1996; Pettit,
Bates, Dodge, & Meece, 1999).
Severalfactorsare likely to influenceparents’
knowledgeabouttheirchildren’sdaily experiences andemotionalwell-being.Suchfactorsmay include, but are not limitedto, employmentschedules, financialstress, numberof childrenin the
household, and the quality of parent-childrelationships.On the whole, parentalknowledgeand
the trackingof children’sdaily experiencesis demarcatedas mothers’work, and motherstend to
know more about their children’sactivitiesthan
fathersdo (Crouter,Helms-Erikson,Updegraff,&
McHale, 1999). Crouter,MacDermid,McHale,
and Perry-Jenkins(1990) reportedno association
between the extent of mothers’work hours and
theirknowledgeaboutschool-agedchildren’sdaily activitiesin a middle-classsampleof families.
However, parents did know more about their
younger, second-bornchildren than their older,
first-bornchildren,who were 8 and 11 years old,
respectively (Crouteret al., 1999). In addition,
bothparentswere generallyinclinedto have more
knowledgeaboutchildrenof theirown sex.
Whereasmost studiesinvestigatingthe effects
of exposure to communityviolence have been
conductedwith poor, AfricanAmericansamples
(DuRant, Getts, Cadenhead,Emans, & Woods,
1995; Fitzpatrick,1993), the currentstudy relied
on a multiethnicsampleof families.Indeed,poor
AfricanAmericansare frequentlyconcentratedin
impoverishedneighborhoodswhere social, educational,and occupationalresourcesare few and
where high crime rates are common(McLoyd&
Ceballo, 1998). Like African Americans,Latino
families are disproportionately
economic resources.In 1998, more than half of
the nation’sLatinohouseholdslived in centralcities of metropolitanareas,and 34%of Latinochildrenunder18 yearsof age were living in poverty
(U.S. Census Bureau, 1999). It may be that the
negativeconsequencesof exposureto violenceare
drasticenough to affect all childrensimilarlyirrespectiveof their racialbackgrounds.Alternatively, culturaldifferencesmay moderatethe degree and effects of violence exposure. For
instance,a commonemphasison familysolidarity
amongLatinosmay limit children’sstreet-culture
activities (Zayas & Solari, 1994). On the other
Tolan,Zelli, andHuesmann
(1996) reportedthat African Americanfamilies
monitoredtheir children’sactivitiesmore closely
Overall,we expect our resultsto concurwith
the findingsof Richtersand Martinez(1993) and
of Hill and Jones (1997). We hypothesizethat
mothersin our studywill similarlyunderestimate
the extent of children’sexposureto inner-cityviolence and psychological distress. Additionally,
we expect thatmothers’knowledgeand therefore
agreementwith childrenabouttheir violence exposurewill be highestfor youngerchildren,who
are more easily supervised(Crouteret al., 1999),
and for female children,who typicallyreportless
involvement in street-cultureactivities than do
boys (Bell & Jenkins,1993; Fitzpatrick& Boldizar, 1993). We will also explorewhethermothers’
knowledgeis relatedto several parentalcharacteristics,such as mothers’age, employment,marital status,education,numberof children,andimmigrant status. Finally, in keeping with the
literature,we hypothesizethatgreaterexposureto
violence, fear of crime,and vicariousexperiences
of violencewill be relatedto greaterpsychological
distress in children. Likewise, we predict that
greatermaternalreportsof children’sviolenceexposure and lower mother-childagreementabout
the degreeof children’sviolence exposurewill be
associatedwith impairedpsychologicalfunctioning, becausemorelimitedknowledgeof children’s
activitiesmayreflectdiminishedlevels of parental
(Crouteret al., 1999).
The sample consisted of 104 matchedpairs of
fourthor fifth gradersand their mothersor legal
Journal of Marriage and Family
African American
Separatedor divorced
No high school degree
High school degree or GED
Tradeschool or some college
College degree
No currentemployment
Personal income
Under $10,000
Over $30,000
Ever on welfare
Note: The number of cases for each variable may vary
slightly because missing cases are excluded. Mean age of
mothers was 36 years (SD = 6.82). Mean numberof children was 3.3 (SD = 1.42), and mean numberof people in
home was 4.99 (SD = 1.59).
female guardians.Demographiccharacteristics
the samplewere obtainedduringthe initial interview stage and are displayedin Table 1. There
were 56 female and48 male childrenin this sample, with a meanage of 10 years.Sixty-threechildren identifiedthemselves as Latinos, with the
majorityof these children reportinga Mexican
Americanethnicity.In addition,24 childrenwere
of Europeandescent,and 14 were AfricanAmerican.
We interviewed 93 biological mothers, 7
and4 legal guardians,all of whom
hadprimaryparentingresponsibilityfor theirchildren.(For the rest of the paper,all of the women
interviewedwill be referredto as mothers.)The
mothershad a mean age of 36 years and an average of 3.3 children.Thirty-sixpercent of the
motherswere unemployed,and 54% were married. Overall,these mothersrepresentan extremely impoverishedsample,as indicatedby the 71%
who reportedan annualpersonalincome under
$20,000, the 71% who reportedthat they had at
some time been on welfare,andthe 46% who did
not have a high school diploma.Further,mothers
categorizedtheir median household incomes as
falling within the range of $20,000 to $25,000.
The mothersalso representeda multiethnicgroup,
with 53 Latina,35 EuropeanAmerican,13 African American,and3 raciallyunidentifiedmothers.
Among the Latinamothers,the majoritywere of
MexicanAmericandescent, 34 were not born in
the UnitedStates,and96%spoke Spanishin their
On two separateoccasions, parentalrecruitment
letters describingthe study along with consent
forms were sent home with all of the fourth-and
fifth-gradechildren in two Detroit elementary
schools.The schools were locatedin a poor,highrisk neighborhoodcorrespondingto two census
tracts that had median household incomes of
$14,257 and $15,057, respectively,and 32% and
42% of the populationliving below the poverty
line in 1989 (U.S. CensusBureau,1990).Further,
FBI crimestatisticsindicatethatin 1997 the number of violent crimes (murder,rape,robbery,and
assault)reacheda total of 2,151 per 100,000people in Detroit,as comparedto the nationalaverage
of 634 violentcrimesper 100,000people(Federal
Bureauof Investigation,1997). Among the eligible students,77% of the childrenin one school
and 58% of the childrenin the other school returnedsigned consent forms. With only two delivery attempts,and consideringthe unreliability
with which young children deliver materialsto
their parents,our response rates are respectable
among this populationof poor, highly stressed
families. (Recruitmentefforts in one school occurredat the end of the academicyear,whenfamilies were preoccupiedwith school ceremonies
and summerplans.This may partiallyaccountfor
our lower responseratein that school.)
Questionnaireswere administeredto the 163
childrenwho returnedtheirconsentforms.In our
entiresampleof 163 children,noneof thechildren
lived with male kin only; all of the childrenreportedat least one female relative in the home.
The childrenwere interviewedin a small-group
formatin which graduateand undergraduate
students read the questionnairesout loud to groups
of two to five children,who followed along and
answeredthe questionsas they went. Interviews
Community Violence
were conductedat the schools and took approximately 2 hours (with the inclusion of several
breaks).Foreightchildrenwho indicatedthatthey
preferredto speak Spanish,the questionnairehad
into Spanish,
been translatedand back-translated
and these childrenworkedwith a bilingualgraduate student.At one school, childrenwho participatedin the study receiveda $20 gift certificate
to Toys-R-Us;in the other school, children attended a “pizza party”because the school principal preferredthatchildrennot receivemonetary
compensationfor researchparticipation.
Upon completionof the child data collection,
mothersof the childrenwere contactedand recruited by phone. Out of 163 children interviewed, 15 childrenalso had a sibling participating in the study,resultingin a totalof 148 mothers
available for participation.Seventy percent of
these eligible motherswereinterviewed.The sample for this study includes only those children
whose motherswere also interviewed,resultingin
a final sample of 104 mother-childpairs. On all
of our child measures,we conductedt tests between childrenwhose mothersdid participatein
the studyandchildrenwhose mothersdid not participate.No significantdifferencesemergedto indicate a selection bias between the mother-child
pairswho did, versusthose who did not, agreeto
participate.Mothers were interviewed in local
fast-food restaurantsor in their homes, and the
motherinterviewslastedabout2 hours.All mothers were paid $50 for their assistanceand participation.For 26 motherswho preferredto have the
interview conductedin Spanish,a motherquestionnaire,whichhadbeen translatedby a bilingual
professionalassociated with one of the schools
was administeredby a
and then back-translated,
The Survey of Exposureto CommunityViolence
(Richters & Martinez, 1993) measures the frequencyof lifetime exposureto 25 differenttypes
of violence.(Twoitemsfromthe originalmeasure
were excludedbecause school officials were not
comfortablewith their sexual content.)Children
were asked to reporthow many times they were
victims or witnesses of certainviolent events on
a scale from 0 (never)to 11 (almostevery day).
Two scales were constructedto reflecta measure
of personalvictimizationandwitnessingviolence.
The scale of personalvictimization(x = .84) was
createdby adding children’sscores on 10 items
that assessed personal experienceswith violent
events, such as being “threatenedwith serious
physical harm”and “attackedor stabbedwith a
knife.” The scale for witnessingviolentevents(uo…
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