Reviewing the Literature on the Impact of Gun Violence on Early Childhood Development

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Reviewing the Literature on the Impact of Gun Violence on Early Childhood Development

Category: Behavior, Youth|Journal: Current Psychiatry Reports (full text)|Author: G Cahill, K Holloway, T Tieu, W Njoroge|Year: 2023

Purpose of Review

To examine the impacts of gun violence on early childhood development including early childhood mental health, cognitive development, and the assessment and treatment of survivors.

Recent Findings

The literature reflects that gun violence exposure is often associated with significant mental health outcomes including anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and depression in older youth. Historically, studies have focused on adolescents and their exposures to gun violence through proximity to gun violence within their communities, neighborhoods, and schools. However, the impacts of gun violence on young children are less known.

Summary

Gun violence has significant impacts on mental health outcomes of youth aged 0–18. Few studies focus specifically on how gun violence impacts early childhood development. In light of the increase in youth gun violence over the past three decades with a significant uptick since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, continued efforts are needed to better understand how gun violence impacts early childhood development.

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