Political violence exposure, adolescent school violence, and drug use: The mediating role of school support and posttraumatic stress

Lin Fang*, Miriam Schiff, Rami Benbenishty

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Adolescents may engage in risk behaviors to cope with the negative psychological impacts resulting from exposure to political violence. Guided by the Deterioration Deterrence Model and General Strain Theory, the present study assessed the mediating role of school support and posttraumatic stress (PTS) on two adolescent risk behaviors (i.e., school violence and drug use) among Arab and Jewish Israeli adolescents. We analyzed data from a nationally representative survey that consisted of 4,733 Israeli high school students (54.5% females; 63.2% Jewish) following the Second Lebanon War. Structural equation modeling using weighted data bootstrapped with 2,000 iterations evaluated the mediated effects of school support and PTS. The results showed that both school support and PTS mediated the pathways from political violence exposure to school violence and drug use. However, although school support and PTS fully mediated the relationship between political violence exposure and these risk behaviors for Jewish students, school support and PTS only partially mediated the relationships for Arab students. While school support can help decrease the detrimental effect of exposure to terrorism and war, Israeli adolescents exposed to more political violence may perceive receiving less school support than those experiencing less exposure. Findings of this study provide evidence for the theorized mediated pathways between political violence exposure and adolescent risk behaviors by PTS and school support. The study serves as a basis for future research that can unpack the relationship between exposure to political violence and adolescent risk-taking behaviors.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)662-670
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry
Volume86
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Orthopsychiatric Association.

Keywords

  • Drug use
  • Political violence
  • Posttraumatic stress
  • School support
  • School violence

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