Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Albert D. Farrell


Exposure to community violence is a pervasive problem among urban youth and has been associated with both internalizing and externalizing disorders. The mechanisms through which exposure to community violence impacts adolescent adjustment are unclear. A change in adolescent schemas has been proposed as a mechanism through which the impact occurs. The goals of this study were to develop a measure of relevant adolescent schemas and examine their relation to exposure to community violence. A sample of 320 5th and 8th graders were assessed and confirmatory factor analyses of the measure supported a three factor model, including self-schemas, world schemas and use of violence schemas. Exposure to community violence, including victimization and witnessing violence, was associated with more negative adolescent schemas. Witnessing violence and victimization had distinct relations with schemas highlighting the need to examine these types of exposure independently. Overall, this study provides preliminary support for the importance of studying adolescent schemas within the context of community violence. The measure developed represents an initial step in this process given what is available in the literature. However, additional work on the measure is needed to ensure that it accurately samples the schema domains that are relevant for youth in this context.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

Included in

Psychology Commons