The co-morbidity of violence-related behaviors with health-risk behaviors in a population of high school students

School of Public Health, University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center 77225, USA.
Journal of Adolescent Health (Impact Factor: 3.61). 04/1995; 16(3):216-25. DOI: 10.1016/1054-139X(94)00067-O
Source: PubMed


To describe the frequency of violence-related behaviors and their association with other health behaviors among high school students.
The Youth Risk Behavior Survey was administered to all ninth and eleventh graders (n = 2075) of a school district in Texas. It provided information regarding violence-related behaviors and other health behaviors. Students were classified into four mutually exclusive, violence-related categories according to whether they were involved in a physical fight and/or carried a weapon.
Overall, 20% of the students were involved in a physical fight but had not carried a weapon, 10% carried a weapon but had not been involved in a physical fight, and 17% had been involved in a physical fight and had carried a weapon. Prevalence of weapon-carrying and fighting were higher among males than females, and among ninth graders than eleventh graders. Among males, 48% had carried a weapon the month prior to the survey. Students who both fought and carried a weapon were 19 times more likely to drink alcohol six or more days than students who did not fight nor carried a weapon. Logistic regression analyses showed that drinking alcohol, number of sexual partners, and being in ninth grade were predictors of fighting. These three variables plus having a low self-perception of academic performance and suicidal thoughts were predictors of fighting and carrying a weapon.
The data indicate that violence-related behaviors are frequent among high school students and that they are positively associated with certain health behaviors. Interventions designed to reduce violence should also address coexisting health-risk behaviors and target high-risk groups.

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    • "As such we term it a risk factor for violence and in the current paper we control for reported victimization from bullying in order to limit the cases in which weapon carrying is for purposes of defense. Both physical fighting and weapon carrying are highly correlated with use of illicit substances [14], [15] and early involvement in sexual behaviours [16]. They are also associated with a myriad of health-related outcomes and other forms of violence including bullying [13], [16], poor academic achievement and reduced engagement in school activities [17], suicidal ideation and behaviour [18], [19], and other measures of emotional distress [20]. "
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    • "Among adolescents reporting peer violence, hazardous alcohol use was also associated with an increased frequency of violent incidents. These findings replicate previous research that has documented a relationship between alcohol use and violence among adolescents (Fergusson et al. 1996; Orpinas et al. 1995; Swahn and Donovan 2004, 2006; Swahn et al. 2004; Brewer and Swahn 2005; White et al. 1999). "
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    • "Although there have not been many specific studies of the impact of exposure to interpersonal and community violence on sexual risk taking among African American adolescent females, existing research suggests that these relationships are established early in life. In a cross-sectional study of 9 th and 11 th grade students it was found that exposure to family violence was associated with higher numbers of sexual partners among African American adolescent females (Orpinas et al., 1995). Johnson and Harlow (1996) found that exposure to interpersonal violence was associated with a greater perceived risk of HIV and with more sexual risk behaviors. "
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