Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Mary Lou Kelley


Numerous studies evidence that urban youth are exposed to epidemic proportions of community violence. Exposure to community violence has been associated with significant levels of distress including aggression, academic difficulties, anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Although it is clear that children who experience chronic levels of violence exposure are at increased risk for poor developmental outcome, the consequences of exposure are not the same for all children. Parenting factors found to buffer the effects of community violence exposure include family size, parental presence in the home, family support, parenting resources, family cohesion, and strong parental monitoring. It is less often that actual parenting behavior is examined as a moderator of the relationship between exposure to community violence and childhood functioning. The purpose of the present study was to examine whether specific parenting practices moderate the relationship between exposure to community violence and competent outcome. A sample of 79 children (35 females and 44 males) ages 9 to 13 years and their parents and teachers participated in the study. The sample was 100% African American primarily from low income families living in high crime neighborhoods. Children completed the Kid-SAVE, the Behavior Assessment System for Children - Child Form (BASC), and the Harter Self-Perception Profile for Children. Parents completed the BASC - Parent Form, Social Skills Rating System (SSRS), the Alabama Parenting Questionnaire (APQ). Teachers completed the BASC - Teacher Form. The child's grade point average and standardized test scores were ascertained from academic records. The construct of "competence" was defined in terms of three developmental tasks: academic performance, social skills/conduct, and self-concept. Multiple regression analyses indicated that parenting quality moderated the relationship between exposure to community violence and academic functioning. Parenting quality was shown to be a significant predictor of social skills/conduct but did not moderate the relationship between violence exposure and social skills outcome. Exposure to community violence was the only significant predictor of children's self-concept. Multivariate analyses revealed that "resilient" children were exposed to lower levels of community violence and had parents who utilized positive parenting techniques compared to their "maladaptive" counterparts.