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When Someone Is In A Safe Place, I Believe That Your Mind Rests

By International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Sarah Hoegler Dennis, E. Mark Cummings, Paul Boxer, | March 27, 2024

Emerging Leader Fellow Franklin Moreno has published new cross-national research in the International Journal of Intercultural Relations with his colleagues on emotional security and community violence.


Youth are impacted by violence across multiple contexts, where prior research on youth well-being has considered community violence as a general source of risk. However, previous research has omitted the experiences of exposure by youth that involve the co-occurrence of insecurity with multiple groups in the community, such as with the police and gangs. This cross-national study examines the experiences of security, insecurity, and violence of youth through an integrated framework consisting of Emotional Security Theory, prior exposure to community violence research, and a social ecological perspective. Focus groups were conducted with 14–22-year-olds (N = 48; 63% Males) in Newark, New Jersey, USA, and (N = 60; 61%, Females) in San Pedro Sula (SPS), Cortés, Honduras. Results show similar cross-national responses: youth expressed emotions of anger and anxiety in conditions of violence and insecurity; and sense of calm and happiness in conditions of safety. Differences in interactions between security and violence were found as a function of location. Results also indicate that youth are not only exposed to multiple forms of violence, but varying forms of violence also interact with one another. This qualitative study is the first phase of research on emotional security across four contexts of community violence: policing, gangs, family, and other neighborhood residents.

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