Pathways from witnessing community violence to mental health problems among South African adolescents
Naidoo, Pamela P.
Donenberg, Geri R.
Kendall, Ashley D.
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The intersection of violence exposure and mental health problems is a public health crisis for South African (SA) adolescents. Understanding the impact of community violence on adolescent mental health can inform future interventions. Objectives. To assess pathways between community violence exposure and internalising and externalising problems in SA adolescents receiving mental healthcare, and the roles of parent and peer relationships in these associations. Methods. Participants (N=120 parent-adolescent pairs) were recruited from four mental health clinics in Western Cape Province to participate in a pilot test of a family-based HIV prevention study. Adolescents reported on their exposure to community violence, parental attachment, peer support of risk behaviour, and mental health. Parents reported on adolescents' internalising and externalising mental health problems. Participants received transport money (ZAR30 = USD3) and a shopping voucher or cash (ZAR50 = USD5) for their time. Results. Adolescents were 12 - 18 years old (mean (standard deviation) 14.39 (1.82) years), 53% were male, and 67% and 33% reported black African and mixed-race ethnicity, respectively. Parents were 94% female and reported an average monthly income of ZAR3 973 (USD397).