Friendship Attachment Style Moderates the Effect of Adolescent Exposure to Violence on Emerging Adult Depression and Anxiety Trajectories

Justin E. Heinze, Stephanie Cook, Erica P. Wood, Anne C. Dumadag, Marc A. Zimmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
StateAccepted/In press - Aug 16 2017



  • Adolescence
  • Depression
  • Exposure to violence
  • Friendship attachment
  • Growth model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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