Violence-Related Behaviors in High School Students
> 12/15/2005 4:07:03 PM

Homicide and suicide are responsible for approximately one fourth of deaths among persons aged 10--24 years in the United States. The CDC analyzed data from the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) which indicated that most violence-related behaviors decreased during 1991--2003; however, students increasingly were likely to miss school because they felt too unsafe to attend. In addition, in 2003, nearly one in 10 high school students reported being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property during the preceding 12 months. Schools and communities should continue efforts to establish physical and social environments that prevent violence and promote actual and perceived safety in schools.

The declines observed in weapon carrying and physical fighting, both in general and on school property, correspond with a decline in the national youth homicide rate. However, not all violent behaviors among youths are declining. The prevalence of being injured in a physical fight has remained stable for each subgroup. In addition, the prevalence of being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property increased among white and 9th-grade students and increased in recent years among black students.

The increasing prevalence of not going to school because of safety concerns might be attributed in part to the increases in students being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property as well as students' heightened sense of vulnerability after an increase in high-profile, school-associated, multiple-victim homicides during the 1990s.

In 2003, one in three high school students reported involvement in a physical fight, and approximately one in 16 high school students reported carrying a weapon on school property. To further reduce violence-related behaviors among young persons and to have an impact on behaviors that are more resistant to change, continued efforts are needed to monitor these behaviors and to develop, evaluate, and disseminate effective prevention strategies.

Excerpts from The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


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