African American adolescents living and coping with community violence on Chicago's Southside

  • Voisin D
  • Bird J
  • Hardestry M
 et al. 
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Abstract

This study explores community violence exposures among African American adolescents and whether coping strategies were gendered. In-depth interviews are conducted with a sample of 32 African American high school students. Data are analyzed using a thematic analysis. The primary forms of violence exposures are physical attacks, fighting, and incidents involving police, gun violence, and murders. Boys report more exposure to violence as victims and witnesses, whereas girls are more likely to hear about violent acts. Coping styles range from "getting through," which included both an acceptance of community conditions; "getting along," which included self-defense techniques; "getting away," which included avoidance coping strategies; and "getting back," which consisted of confrontational coping strategies. Boys report more confrontational coping styles than are girls, who utilized more avoidance approaches. Widespread school-based interventions are warranted, given the high prevalence of community violence exposure among these youth and may provide important supports for coping against such trauma.

Author-supplied keywords

  • African American
  • adolescents
  • community violence
  • coping
  • gender

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Authors

  • Dexter R. Voisin

  • Jason D.P. Bird

  • Melissa Hardestry

  • Cheng Shiu Shi

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