Adult Exposure to Community Violence

Although experiences of community violence are linked with negative outcomes for adults and children, few standardized measures assessing community violence exist, and available measures lack consistency concerning the definition of community violence. Further, most measures currently utilized to assess adult exposure to community violence were designed for use with children and adolescents. To address these identified concerns and make recommendations for future research, this article reviews contemporary definitions of community violence, identifies the outcomes of exposure to community violence for adults, and evaluates measures of exposure to community violence with published psychometric data employing adult samples. A systematic review of the literature was conducted to identify studies that (1) included a self-report of community violence exposure, (2) included primarily adult respondents, and (3) reported psychometric data. Seventeen studies met the inclusion criteria. Measures employed in these studies were reviewed and basic psychometric properties discussed. Notably, the Survey of Exposure to Community Violence was the most commonly used measure among these studies. Although multiple measures demonstrated limited but acceptable psychometric performance in select studies, few in-depth psychometric analyses exist for measures of adult exposure to community violence. Also, it is difficult to compare studies due to variations in definitions of community violence and multiple versions of each measure. Recommendations for future research include provision of explicit definitions of community violence and reporting psychometric data for measures. © The Author(s) 2015.