Anxiety and aggression in rural youth: Baseline results from the rural adaptation project

Paul R. Smokowski, Katie L. Cotter, Caroline I.B. Robertson, Shenyang Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


There is little research on the prevalence of and risk factors for mental health disorders, including anxiety and aggression, for low income, rural youth. The research that does exist suggests that rural youth may be at increased risk for negative outcomes, including low educational achievement, drug use and possession of weapons among gang members, and alcohol use. Using multilevel logistic regression, we examined individual, family, and school risk and protective factors for adolescent anxiety and aggression in a large, racially diverse sample of 4,321 middle school students who came from two impoverished, rural counties in a Southeastern state. Parent-child conflict, negative peer relationships, and negative friend behaviors were key risk factors associated with both anxiety and aggressive behaviors. The teacher turnover rate at school was also associated with both anxiety and aggression. Significant direct effects, cross-level moderation effects, and implications for prevention programming were discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-492
Number of pages14
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Risk and protective factors
  • Rural

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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