The association between exposure to community violence and somatic symptoms through bullying victimization among African American adolescents in Chicago: A developmental trauma approach

Timothy I. Lawrence, Jun S. Hong, Kelly S. Sopchak, Dexter R. Voisin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The developmental trauma theory suggests that traumatic events impede the ability of individuals to form interpersonal relationships, impair cognition, affect, and increase the vulnerability of adolescents to develop psychopathology. However, few studies have examined the applicability of this theory among African American adolescents who were exposed to community violence and adverse outcomes, including bullying victimization and somatic symptoms. Aims: Therefore, the purpose of the present study is to first test the association between exposure to community violence and somatic symptoms. Then, we explored whether bullying victimization mediated the relationship between exposure to community violence and somatic symptoms while controlling for gender differences and substance use (n = 622). Results: Results suggest that exposure to community violence is positively associated with somatic symptoms. Moreover, the association between exposure to community violence and somatic symptoms was mediated by bullying victimization. Discussion and Conclusion: These results were consistent with the developmental trauma theory, such that trauma could increase the vulnerability for future victimization, thus, leading to somatic symptoms. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1280-1292
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Volume79
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the Center for Health Administration Studies and the STI/HIV Intervention Network at the University of Chicago, which were awarded to Dr. Dexter R. Voisin.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Wiley Periodicals LLC.

Keywords

  • African American
  • bullying victimization
  • exposure to community violence
  • somatization

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