Community violence, family conflict, and preschoolers' socioemotional functioning.
This study examined the relations among family conflict, community violence, and young children's socioemotional functioning and explored how children's social cognition and mothers' psychological functioning may mediate the outcomes associated with this exposure. Mothers of 431 Head Start preschoolers completed questionnaires about their family demography, exposure to community violence, family conflict, and children's distress symptoms. Children were administered a social cognition assessment, and teachers rated their behavior. Results showed that mothers' reports of children's co-witnessing of community violence were positively associated with police department crime rates, children's distress symptoms, and teachers' ratings of aggression. A path analysis revealed that children's social awareness and mothers' depressive symptoms partially mediated the effects of community violence and family conflict on outcomes for children.