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Onyeka's research focuses on factors that promote resilience among people of color, psychosocial buffers toward community violence exposure in adolescents, and the relationship between social environmental stressors and mental well-being in marginalized communities. Presently, her research involves implementing and evaluating a longitudinal cross-age peer mentoring program for African and Latinx-American youth in high-violence neighborhoods in Chicago.
Overarching themes in Onyeka's writing include examining the relationship between general life stress, internalizing symptoms, neighborhood cohesion, community violence exposure, and adolescent experiences with police for youth residing in the South and West sides.
Examines patterns of frequency of exposure to violence, including witnessing and victimization, across family, school, and community contexts, using person-centered methods. Relates the obtained profiles of exposure to violence to demographic variables and post-traumatic stress symptoms.
Aims to explore the relationship between youth experiences with police, youth perceptions of their neighborhood and how this differs demographically (focusing on age, gender, and ethnicity).
Examines the relative contributions of violence perpetrated by family, friends, and strangers towards the endorsement of positive beliefs about aggression and retaliation and subsequent aggressive behavior. Hypothesizes that this relation would be stronger amidst close relationships.