Violent Behaviors & Teens: Academics & Family Income Key Factors
A recent SAMHSA study reveals that nearly 7.8 million adolescents age 12 to 17, almost one-third (30.9 percent), participated in any of three violent behaviors over the past year.
Violent Behaviors and Family Income among Adolescents, from SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, showed that 22.6 percent of adolescents reported participating in a serious fight at school or work; 16.1 percent reported involvement in group-against-group fighting; and 7.5 percent reported attacking others with intent to seriously hurt them.
Overall, male adolescents were more likely to engage in violent behaviors than females (34.6 percent versus 27.0 percent), those age 12 to 14 were more likely to have done so than those age 15 to 17 (32.2 versus 29.6 percent).
But the study found other demographic and socioeconomic factors were also associated with an adolescent’s risk for violent behaviors.
According to the report, the prevalence of participation in violent behaviors was higher among adolescents from families with low income than those with high income.
For example, two-fifths of adolescents (40.5 percent) who lived in families with annual incomes of less than $20,000 engaged in at least one of these three types of violent behaviors compared with 33.8 percent of those in families with annual incomes of $20,000 to $49,999; 27.8 percent of those in families with annual incomes of $50,000 to $74,999; and 24.6 percent of those in families with incomes of $75,000 or more.
For both age groups and both genders, the prevalence of violent behaviors was higher among adolescents with lower family income than among those with higher family income. This pattern generally held among students who reported having an “A,” “B,” or “C” average.
Among adolescents with “D” averages, however, those coming from families with annual incomes of $75,000 had nearly identical rates of violent behaviors as those who came from families with annual incomes of less than $20,000 (54.5 percent versus 55.9 percent).
Violent Behaviors and Family Income among Adolescents is based on data from the 2004 to 2008 NSDUHs, which involve interviews with 112,885 adolescents throughout the Nation. This study was done as part of SAMHSA’s Strategic Initiative on Data, Outcomes, and Quality.
Read the full report.