Troubled Teen Issues

Teen Violence

Teen violence is seen in many different varieties from serious crimes to playful banter. Understanding teen violence will help prevent these issues in your family, neighborhood, schools, and communities. Learn the risk factors for teen violence and then be proactive in helping at risk teens to prevent teenage violence.

Occurrence of Teen Violence and Consequences of Teen Violence
In 2002, more than 877,700 young people ages 10 to 24 were injured from violent acts. Approximately 1 in 13 required hospitalization (CDC 2004).

Teen Violence causes, incidence, and risk factors.
Homicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24 overall. In this age group, it is the leading cause of death for African-Americans, the second leading cause of death for Hispanics, and the third leading cause of death for American Indians, Alaskan Natives, and Asian Pacific Islanders (Anderson and Smith 2003).

In 2001, 5,486 young people ages 10 to 24 were murdered, an average of 15 each day (CDC 2004).

In 2001, 79% of homicide victims ages 10 to 24 were killed with firearms (CDC 2004).

In a nationwide survey, 17% of students reported carrying a weapon (e.g., gun, knife, or club) on one or more days in the 30 days preceding the survey (Grunbaum et al. 2004).

Among students nationwide, 33% reported being in a physical fight one or more times in the 12 months preceding the survey (Grunbaum et al. 2004).

Nationwide, 9% of students reported being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend in the 12 months prior to being surveyed (Grunbaum et al. 2004).

Groups at Risk of Teen Violence
Of the 5,486 homicides reported in the 10 to 24 age group in 2001, 85% (4,659) were males and 15% (827) were females (CDC 2004).
A nationwide survey found male students (41%) more likely to have been involved in a physical fight than female students (25%) in the 12 months preceding the survey (Grunbaum et al. 2004).
A nationwide survey found female students (12%) more likely than male students (6%) to have been forced to have sexual intercourse (Grunbaum et al. 2004).

Risk Factors for Teen Violence
Individual Factors in Teen Violence:
Attention deficits/hyperactivity
Antisocial beliefs and attitudes
History of early aggressive behavior
Involvement with drugs, alcohol, or tobacco
Early involvement in general offenses
Low IQ
Poor behavioral control
Social cognitive or information-processing deficits

Family Factors in Youth Violence:
Authoritarian childrearing attitudes
Exposure to violence and family conflict
Harsh, lax, or inconsistent disciplinary practices
Lack of involvement in the child’s life
Low emotional attachment to parents or caregivers
Low parental education and income
Parental substance abuse and criminality
Poor family functioning
Poor monitoring and supervision of children

Protective Factors for Teen Violence Prevention
Individual Protective Factors:
Intolerant attitude toward deviance
High IQ
Positive social orientation
Peer/School Protective Factors:
Commitment to school
Involvement in social activities