Exposure to violence during adolescence is associated with increased risk behaviors and mental health problems in adulthood. Friendship attachment during adolescence may, however, mitigate the negative effects of exposure to violence on trajectories of depression and anxiety in young adulthood. In this study, we used growth curve modeling to examine associations between exposure to violence and mental health outcomes, followed by multi-group analyses with friendship attachment as the moderator. The sample was drawn from a longitudinal study (12 waves; 1994–2012) of 676 (54% female) urban high school students. We found strong positive associations between exposure to violence during adolescence and later self-reported depressive and anxiety symptoms. Notably, securely attached adolescents reported faster decreases in mental health symptoms as a function of violence relative to their insecurely attached peers as they transitioned into adulthood.
- Exposure to violence
- Friendship attachment
- Growth model
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)