Background Exposure to violence affects an individual's overall health. For example, reductions in the mental health and social functioning domains of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) strongly correlate with domestic violence.
Purpose There is a gap in the literature on the influence violence on HRQoL for African-American teenagers in particular.
Methods African-American teenagers (N=491) enrolled in a behavioural intervention self-reported during waves of data collection, beginning at age (mean) 16.0 through age (mean) 18.5, exposure to violent crime, propensity for aggression, perpetration of violence, and dimensions of HRQoL as defined by the SF-36. We used a fixed-effects linear regression model to investigate the impact of being a violence victim or perpetrator on each of the eight dimensions and two component summary scales of the SF-36, while controlling for high depressive symptoms and socio-economic risk status. Differences are significant at a p<0.05.
Results Considering the eight dimensions of HRQoL, for victims we found a significant reduction in the ‘role-limitations’ domain for victims and, for perpetrators we found a significant decrease in the ‘role-limitations’ and ‘mental health’ domains. Regarding the component summary scales, for perpetrators we found significant decreases in both the physical and mental summary scales.
Significance Our results agree with other published studies that suggest violence significantly decreases a victim's overall mental health. However, for violence victimisation and perpetration, we found that violence might also impair African-American teenagers' ability to handle ‘normal or usual daily activities,’ which may indicate that violence interferes with their societal and household productivity.
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