DOI: 10.1002/jad.12290 ISSN: 0140-1971

Adolescents' exposure to community violence and associations with after‐school activities across two samples

Francheska Alers‐Rojas, Rosario Ceballo, James A. Cranford, Ana Patricia Esqueda, Solangel C. Troncoso
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology and Child Health



Exposure to community violence (ECV) continues to be a major public health problem among urban adolescents in the United States. We sought to identify subgroups of adolescents' ECV and examine how after‐school activities are related to exposure subgroups across two samples.


In Study 1 there were 1432 adolescents (Cohort 9 n = 717, Mage = 11, and Cohort 12 n = 715, Mage = 14; 52% boys) from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (1994–2002). Study 2 had a more recent sample of 537 adolescents (Mage = 16 years; 54% girls) from the After‐School Activity Study (ASAS; 2015–2017) in Chicago and Detroit.


Exploratory latent class analyses yielded a three‐class solution for Study 1: a “No ECV” class (44%); a “Low ECV” class (36%); and a “High Exposure” class (14%). In Study 2, a four‐class solution was the best fit with a “No ECV” class (33%), a “Moderate Witness/Low Victim” class (36%), a “High Witness/Moderate Victim” class (19%), and a “High ECV” class (11%). Home‐based activities appeared to be protective against high ECV for adolescents in Study 2. School‐based activities were associated with higher ECV across both samples, but community‐based activities were only associated with greater violence exposure in Study 1. Adolescents' unstructured socializing in both studies was associated with higher odds of ECV.


Results indicate that subgroups of adolescents can be identified based on ECV and highlight the complexity of after‐school activities as risk and protective factors in both past and more recent contexts.

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