The overall objective of this project is to obtain a 10 year update and extension of the 1995 National Survey of Adolescents (NSA) by conducting a three wave, longitudinal survey of a new national household probability sample of 12-17 year-old adolescents. The original NSA was conducted via telephone with a national household probability sample of 4,023 male and female adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17. The methods to be used for the proposed project are deliberately modeled after the original NSA. The proposed project will involve a baseline survey of a new cohort of 4,000 12-17 year-olds using identical sample selection and interview procedures as that in the original NSA. The proposed project will also include two additional assessments of adolescent participants to be conducted one and two years after the baseline assessment. As was the case with the odginal NSA, a structured interview will be used to measure a broad range of exposure to witnessed and direct violence victimization (e.g., sexual assault, physical assault, and physically abuse punishment) occurring in family, school, and community settings. Several types of mental health problems will be measured, including PTSD, major depression, suicide ideation and attempts, substance use and abuse, and delinquency. The study will also obtain information from parents as well as adolescents regarding academic performance. The proposed project will provide invaluable comparisons about changes over the past decade in violence exposure, substance use, and related adjustment issues among American youth. Although modeled after the NSA, the proposed project departs from the original in several important respects. First, the assessment of violence exposure in the proposed study is broader and more specific; specifically, assessment of physically abusive punishment will be expanded, and there will be a more comprehensive focus on episodes of school, domestic, and community violence to permit greater description of adolescents' exposure to violence in each of these important settings. Second, the range of outcomes assessed will be diversified beyond mental health, substance abuse, and delinquency to include academic performance, an important developmental marker of child adjustment, as well as risky sexual behaviors. Third, the proposed survey methodology is longitudinal. Thus, specific aims of the proposed project are: 1)To obtain prevalence rates and descriptive data regarding adolescents' exposure to violence (both direct and witnessed) across a range of settings (school, home, community), including sexual assault, physical assault, physically abusive punishment, domestic violence, community violence and school violence; 2) To determine whether there have been changes among a nationally representative sample of 12-17 year olds over the 1995-2005 period with respect to the prevalence of exposure to violence, mental health problems, and risk or protective factors for a range of adverse social and mental health outcomes given exposure to violence;3) To examine the longitudinal trajectory of exposure to violence, development of mental health and substance use, abuse problems, risky sexual behaviors, delinquency and changes in academic performance;4) To test the hypothesis that the relationship between adverse family environment and the outcomes of delinquency and poor academic performance are substantially mediated by exposure to violence and/or violence-related mental health problems; and 5)To test the extent to which the relationships described above are moderated by gender, race, and ethnicity.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
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Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-CPDD (50))
Program Officer
Maholmes, Valerie
Project Start
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Medical University of South Carolina
Schools of Medicine
United States
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