Mental disorders are responsible for 16% of the global burden of disease in adolescents. This review focuses on one contextual factor called community violence that can contribute to the development of mental disorders
To evaluate the impact of community violence on internalizing mental health symptoms in adolescents, to investigate whether different proximity to community violence (witness or victim) is associated with different risks and to identify whether gender, age, and race moderate this association.
systematic review of observational studies. The population includes adolescents (10-24 years), exposition involves individuals exposed to community violence and outcomes consist of internalizing mental health symptoms. Selection, extraction and quality assessment were performed independently by two researchers.
A total of 2987 works were identified; after selection and extraction, 42 works remained. Higher exposure to community violence was positively associated with internalizing mental health symptoms. Being a witnessing is less harmful for mental health than being a victim. Age and race did not appear in the results as modifiers, but male gender and family support appear to be protective factors in some studies.
This review confirms the positive relationship between community violence and internalizing mental health symptoms in adolescents and provides relevant information that can direct public efforts to build policies in the prevention of both problems.