This book uses life-course longitudinal data collected from a national probability sample of respondents over a span of nearly three decades to examine the impact of multiple forms of exposure to violence in adolescence on a broad range of outcomes in adulthood. The forms of adolescent exposure to violence include general violence victimization, parental physical abuse, witnessing parental violence, and exposure to neighborhood violence. The adult outcomes include adult educational attainment, employment, marital status, income and wealth, mental health, life satisfaction, illicit and problem substance use, general violence victimization and perpetration, intimate partner violence victimization and perpetration, and arrest. The results demonstrate the complex pattern of how the different forms of exposure to violence in adolescence have varying effects on different types of adult outcomes, and matter differently for females and males. Based on these results, implications for theory, policy, and future research are considered.
Scott Menard is retired professor of criminal justice and criminology, most recently in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Sam Houston State University.
Herbert C. Covey is retired deputy director of the Adams County, Colorado, Human Services Department.
Dedication & Acknowledgments
Chapter 1 Adolescent Exposure to Violence
Chapter 2 Study Design and Sample Characteristics
Chapter 3 Distribution of Adolescent Exposure to Violence and Adult Outcomes
Chapter 4 Adolescent Exposure to Violence and Adult Socioeconomic Statuses
Chapter 5 Adolescent Exposure to Violence and Adult Mental Health
Chapter 6 Adolescent Exposure to Violence and Adult Substance Use
Chapter 7 Adolescent Exposure to Violence and Adult General Violence
Victimization and Perpetration
Chapter 8 Adolescent Exposure to Violence and Adult Intimate Partner Violence
Conclusion: Adolescent Exposure to Violence and Adult Outcomes –
Implications for Theory and Practice
With a deep-dive into victimization experiences for cohorts that moved into adulthood during the pandemic of youth violence of the 1980s, Menard extends thinking on factors in adolescence that undermine personal and social well-being deep into later life. With the remarkably rich National Youth Survey Family Study as a base, the research makes a convincing case for the unique and powerful role of exposure to violence in the (re)production of inequalities in American society. It is an important message, one with broad implications that helps us understand the past and warns of challenges for the future.