Violence

Narrative

Violence among adolescents occurs in multiple forms and is a critical public health issue in the United States. Instances of violence include physical fighting, dating violence, and homicide, which was the third leading cause of death among all persons aged 10–24 years in 2010 (the latest year for which data are available).1

Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System show that in 2013, 8.1 percent of high school students reported being in a physical fight on school property during the preceding 12 months. This represents a decrease since 2011, when 12.0 percent of students reported such violence. The proportion of students to report fighting at school also varied by grade level, with 10.9 percent of 9th-graders reporting fighting compared to 4.9 percent of 12th-graders (Figure 1).

students in a fight by grade

Figure 1 Source

In 2013, male students were more than twice as likely to report having been in a fight as female students (10.7 versus 5.6 percent, respectively). With regard to race and ethnicity, 12.8 percent of all non-Hispanic Black students reported fighting at school, compared to 9.4 percent of Hispanic students and 6.4 percent of non-Hispanic White students.

In addition to a physical fight, high school students may experience dating violence in the form of either physical violence or unwanted sexual advances. Approximately 1 of every 10 high school students who had been in a relationship during the past 12 months reported that they were hit, slapped, or otherwise physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend at least once. The proportion of students who reported that they had experienced physical dating violence was higher among 12th-graders compared to 9th-graders (11.7 versus 8.8 percent, respectively) and higher among female students than male students (13.0 versus 7.4 percent, respectively).

Sexual dating violence is any unwanted kissing, unwanted touching, or being forced to have sexual intercourse by the person they are dating. In 2013, approximately 1 of every 10 high school students who had been in a relationship during the past 12 months reported this form of violence. Females were more than twice as likely as males to experience sexual dating violence (14.4 versus 6.2 percent, respectively). With regard to race and ethnicity, non-Hispanic Asian students (17.0 percent) were more likely to experience sexual dating violence than non-Hispanic White students (9.8 percent) and non-Hispanic Black students (8.9 percent; Figure 2). School-based programs where students are taught about violence prevention are recommended as an evidence-based way to reduce youth violence. Both individual and group cognitive-behavioral therapy are also recommended.2, 3

students experiencing dating violence by race

Figure 2 Source

Data Sources

Figure 1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Accessed September 20, 2014.

Figure 2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Accessed September 20, 2014.

Endnotes

1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth Violence: National Statistics. Accessed September 21, 2014.

2 The Community Guide. Violence Prevention: School-Based Programs. Accessed March 2, 2015.

3 The Community Guide. Violence Prevention: Reducing Psychological Harm From Traumatic Events Among Children and Adolescents. Accessed March 2, 2015.

Data

Statistical Significance Test

Calculate the difference between two estimates:

Calculated Z-Test Result 0.9567433 Not statistically significant

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