Violence Exposure and Early Adolescent Alcohol Use: An Exploratory Study of Family Risk and Protective Factors

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In this short-term longitudinal exploratory interview study, the relations between exposure to community violence and subsequent alcohol use were examined, with a focus on caregiver and family variables as moderators. Maternal caregivers and their children (N =101 families; 98% African American; M child age = 11.2 yrs) were interviewed separately and completed measures of violence exposure, caregiver and child adjustment, including substance use, and family functioning. Family interaction was also videotaped and coded. Child alcohol use at Time 2 was positively associated with all forms of violence exposure, and was negatively related to felt acceptance from caregiver, but was not associated with caregiver-rated family competence, observer-rated family interaction, maternal problems with alcohol, or maternal psychopathology. Logistic regression analyses predicting child alcohol use at Time 2 indicated that exposure to community violence increased risk of alcohol use, and felt acceptance from the caregiver decreased the likelihood of alcohol use, but did not buffer the effects of violence exposure on alcohol use. Implications and future directions are discussed.

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