Psychology Ph.D. Dissertations


Exposure to Community Violence and Conflict During Adolescence: Does conflict within a friendship contribute to higher levels of aggression?

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Carolyn Tompsett, PhD

Second Advisor

Eric Dubow, PhD (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Marie Tisak, PhD (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Jean Hines, PhD (Committee Member)


Youth who have been exposed to community violence have been found to be more likely to report higher levels of aggression than those who have not been exposed. Few studies have examined the moderating role of a supportive friendship on community violence and aggression. However, to the best of my knowledge, no studies have investigated how conflict within a friendship may contribute to higher levels of aggression after being exposed to violence. Therefore, the current study examined the possible contribution of conflict within a friendship in the association between exposure to community violence and aggression. Participants were 164 Toledo-area adolescents recruited from community organizations (i.e., YMCA, YWCA, East Toledo Family Center, Adelante, Upward Bound). Results indicate a main effect for friendship conflict on aggression, but friendship conflict did not moderate the effects of exposure to community violence. The effects of direct victimization on aggression were moderated by gender, with females demonstrating a stronger association than males. Implications of these findings are discussed.