Date of Award

2009

Degree Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Monica Swahn - Chair

Second Advisor

Kymberle Sterling

Abstract

Peer violence perpetration and victimization are the most common types of violence among youths (Swahn et al., 2008). This study determined the associations between peer violence attitudes and involvement in peer violence perpetration and peer violence victimization among boys and girls in high-risk urban community. Analyses were based on data from the 2004 Youth Violence Survey, administered to over 80% of public school students in grades 7, 9, 11, and 12 (N = 4131) in a high-risk urban community. Chi-square and logistic regression analyses were conducted to test the associations between attitudes and involvement in violent behaviors after controlling for demographic characteristics and potential confounders (e.g., child maltreatment, substance use, weapon carrying, and efficacy to avoid violence). Results show that among all youths, attitudes supporting boys hitting boys significantly increased the odds of peer violence perpetration (AOR: 1.48; 95% CI = 1.13, 1.95). However, stratified analyses for boys and girls show that attitudes supporting boys hitting boys increased the odds of peer violence perpetration for girls only (AOR: 1.57; 95% CI = 1.04, 2.37). The findings demonstrate associations between attitudes and actual involvement in violent behaviors, but they need to be further explored. Additional research is needed to determine how attitude modifications can be incorporated into youth violence prevention programs.

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