Violent Behaviors Involve One in Four Girls
When you think of violent behavior among teens, the first image that comes to mind may be a clump of boys fighting in a school hallway or in a park. But violent behavior among adolescent girls can be a problem as well.
A recent report from SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows that among girls age 12 to 17, 18.6 percent got into a serious fight at school or work in the past 12 months, 14.1 percent participated in a group-against-group fight, and 5.7 percent attacked others with the intent to hurt them seriously.
More than one-quarter (26.7 percent) of girls in this age group engaged in one of these types of violent behavior in the past year, based on averages for 2006 through 2008.
Other key NSDUH findings indicate that the percentage of girls engaging in these violent behaviors varied by family income, substance use, and school-related characteristics.
Family Income. Prevalence of these violent acts in the past year decreased as annual family income increased. Violent behaviors were reported by 36.5 percent of adolescent females who lived in families with annual incomes of less than $20,000; 30.5 percent of those in families with annual incomes of $20,000 to $49,999; 22.8 percent with annual incomes of $50,000 to $74,999; and 20.7 percent with annual incomes of $75,000 or more.
Substance Use. Adolescent females who engaged in any of these violent behaviors in the past year were more likely than those who did not to indicate past-month binge alcohol use (15.1 versus 6.9 percent), marijuana use (11.4 versus 4.1 percent), and use of illicit drugs other than marijuana (9.2 versus 3.2 percent).
School Attendance. Adolescent females who were not currently enrolled in or attending school were more likely than those who were in school to engage in one of these violent behaviors in the past year (34.3 versus 26.7 percent).
Grades. Among those who attended school in the past year, rates of violent behaviors increased as academic grades decreased. About one-sixth of girls who reported having an “A” average (16.0 percent) engaged in a past-year violent behavior compared with 26.0 percent of those with a “B” average, 38.5 percent of those with a “C” average, and 52.6 percent of those with a “D” average or lower.
Despite media attention on high-profile accounts of females’ acts of violence, rates of these violent behaviors among adolescent females remained stable when comparing combined data from 2002 to 2004 with those for 2006 to 2008.
Download Violent Behaviors among Adolescent Females.