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July 2002Vol. 3, No. 6Children's Exposure to Violence Associated with Academic, Health Problems

Two recent studies published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine find that exposure to violence can have detrimental effects on children's academic abilities and health.

The studies looked at different urban child populations and types of violence--community violence and family violence involving the abuse of their mothers. The first study, published in the March 2002 issue, found that when both exposure to community violence and trauma-related distress were considered simultaneously, exposure to violence had an independent effect on both the IQ and reading ability of children. This suggests that reported violence exposure might be associated with negative academic outcomes, whether or not children are subjectively distressed from the exposure. Subjectively distressed child victims who experience community violence may be at additional risk for deficits in reading ability.

In the second study, published in the June 2002 issue, children in an urban public school whose mothers experienced family violence were more likely than a group of their public school peers to exhibit these behaviors: be suspended from school, be absent from school, and visit a school nurse for social or emotional complaints.

The reports are available on the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine website at

Related Item

Also see "National Resource Center Helps Families Cope with Violence in Their Communities" in this issue of CBX.