Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version


Publication Source

Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing





Start Page


Last Page





Urban adolescents are exposed to a substantial amount of community violence which has the potential to influence psychological functioning. To examine the relationship between community violence exposure and mental health symptoms in urban adolescents, a literature review using MEDLINE, CINAHL, PubMed, PsycINFO, CSA Social Services and CSA Sociological Abstracts was conducted. Search terms included adolescent/adolescence, violence, urban, mental health, well-being, emotional distress, depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder and aggression. Twenty-six empirical research articles from 1997 to 2007 met inclusion criteria for review. Findings indicate an influence of community violence exposure on mental health symptoms, particularly posttraumatic stress and aggression. Mediators and moderators for community violence exposure and mental health symptoms help explain relationships. Limitations in the literature are the lack of consistency in measurement and analysis of community violence exposure, including assessment of proximity and time frame of exposure, and in analysis of victimization and witnessing of community violence. Knowledge about identification of urban adolescents exposed to chronic community violence and who experience mental health symptoms is critical to mental health nursing practice and research.

Copyright/Permission Statement

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2008 December ; 15(10): 833–849., which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


Adolescent, Crime Victims, Depression, Female, Humans, Male, Mental Disorders, Nurse-Patient Relations, Psychiatric Nursing, Psychology, Adolescent, Urban Population, Violence

Included in

Nursing Commons



Date Posted: 08 July 2016

This document has been peer reviewed.