Exposure to violence in adolescence and precocious role exits

Dana L. Haynie, Richard J. Petts, David Maimon, Alex R. Piquero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

90 Citations (Scopus)


Exposure to violence is a serious public health concern that compromises adolescents by affecting their behavior and psychological well-being. The current study advances knowledge about the consequences of exposure to violence in adolescence by applying a life course perspective to evaluate the developmental implications of adolescents' exposure to violence. In particular, drawing on a sample of 11,949 school-aged adolescents in the U.S., we examine whether exposure to violence in adolescence is associated with precocious role exits that some adolescents experience. Exposure to violence is conceptualized as including both direct (i.e., experiencing physical victimization) and indirect exposure (i.e., witnessing others' victimization). Three types of direct exposure to violence are examined: street, intimate partner, and family victimization, as well as four types of indirect exposure including: street, peer, and school violence as well as exposure to family/friend suicide. Using three waves of longitudinal data from the Add Health Study, we find that exposure to violence is associated with greater risks of running away from home, dropping out of high school, having a child, attempting suicide, and coming into contact with the criminal justice system in later adolescence. In addition, risks depend upon the relational context in which the exposure to violence occurred, risks increase with greater exposure to violence, and risks are, for the most part, highest for those youth exposed to both indirect and direct violence in adolescence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-286
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Exposure to violence
  • Life course
  • Precocious role exits

Cite this