There is increased awareness that exposure to violence in the community can influence students' aggressive behavior at school; however, less is known about the mechanisms that mediate this process. Having an enhanced understanding of how community violence exposure relates to students' aggressive behavior at school may inform the use of preventive interventions aimed at reducing school violence. Consistent with social-cognitive theory, the current study tested whether the association between exposure to community violence and teacher-reported aggressive behavior was mediated by biased social information processing. Data on 184 suburban adolescents and their teachers were analyzed with structural equation modeling. Community violence exposure and aggressive behavior in the classroom were significantly related and mediated by negatively biased social-cognitive factors. Results suggest that even relatively low levels of community violence exposure may increase the risk of students displaying aggressive behavior at school. Although gender differences were explored, social information processing appeared to be an important mediator for both boys and girls.
- community violence exposure
- social information processing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology