Relation between Community Violence Exposure and Mental Health Problems among Male Adolescents in Alexandria
Adolescents’ exposure to community violence as witnesses or victims is a significant public health problem with negative consequences for several aspects of their adjustment. Objective: Identify the relation between community violence exposure and mental health problems among male adolescents. Setting: The study was conducted in three governmental male secondary schools in Alexandria namely:-Gamal Abdel-Nasser, Moharem Bek and Ras El-Teen. Subjects: 400 baccalaureate nursing students. Tools: Three tools were used for data collection. A Students’ Basic Data Structured Interview Schedule, Recent Exposure to Violence Scale (REVS) and Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Results: Findings of the present study revealed that slightly less than two thirds (62.84%) of the students were exposed to community violence. All the exposed students were witnessing indirect violence while, 97.39% of them were victims to direct violence during the last year. Statistically significant relation observed between students' violence exposure and each of emotional symptoms (c2=26.75, p=0.000), conduct problems (c2=15.47, p=0.000), hyperactivity and inattention (c2=2.29, p=0.003), peer relation problems (c2=51.51, p=0.000) and prosocial behaviour (c2=27.29, p=0.001). Conclusion: Community violence exposure is a prevalent problem that plays a significant role in the occurrence of mental health problems among male adolescents. Recommendations: Development of positive coping skills, competencies and problem solving skills that will help young people deal effectively with high levels of exposure to violence. Trained mental health professionals in schools to identify youth in need of additional services.