Violence is a malicious act done by a human being that has the intention of harming or killing another living being. Violence is everywhere: in the home, in the school, and in the community. Violence causes negative effects to humans’ mental health. These negative effects may trigger symptoms of posttraumatic stress, depression, and even anxiety. Symptoms of these disorders can be some of the following: anxiousness, avoidant behavior, feeling a loss of motivation, and feeling of uneasiness. Violence does not only affect the person being victimized but it affects the people witnessing it. Witnessing acts of violence may provoke depressive symptoms, anxiety, suicidal types of behavior, substance abuse, and displaced aggression.
There was a school-base study done by Mrug and Windle studying the exposure to violence among adolescents that showed victimization in the home was associated with anxiety, depression, and aggression (Tummala-Narra, 9). A home that is filled with violence or poor living conditions may lead to aggressive behaviors. Among adolescents, boys have been reported to be more exposed to violence than girls. Video games, television shows, and sports are examples of why males are more exposed to violence. Exposure to violence has become more prevalent among African American and Latino American adolescents. African Americans and Latinos are more involved in acts of crime and gang violence. Violence is the number one killer of adolescents.
Ethnic identity plays an important role in an adolescent’s life that affects their mental health. An ethnic identity is a sense of membership in an ethnic group, with the attitudes and feelings that are related to the other members of the ethnicity. Ethnic identity includes self-
identification, a sense of belonging, and a pride in one’s own ethnic group (Tummala-Narra, 9). There is a correlation between feeling positive in one’s ethnic identity and having positive psychological adjustments, such as less depression, and self-esteem among adolescents across many different ethnic groups. A negative ethnic identity is not knowing one’s self and has a prevalence for loneliness. Race is used to categorize humans into distinct groups by culture, ethnicity, and social affiliation. Race is socially constructed by classifying individuals by physical characteristics and a racial identity is identifying with that race.
In a study examining 9th and 10th grade students the results from exposure to violence was posttraumatic stress, anxiety, ethnic identity, and help seeking. There was a positive association between exposure to violence and these symptoms throughout the racial groups (Tummala-Narra, 9). There is a high exposure to violence in the home, community, and in school. Approximately 80 to 90% of adolescents living in poor, urban areas have reported to have either been victimized or witnessed a cause of violence in schools or in the community. Low SES correlates with...