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72 Impact of violence risk on adolescent physical and mental health
  1. Eric Sigel
  1. University of Colorado School of Medicine, USA


Statement of purpose To determine whether risk for future violence perpetration is associated with mental and physical health problems.

Methods A community based survey exploring multiple violence characteristics was conducted prior to implementation of a Community that Cares model targeting reduction in youth violence. All youth living in high risk communities were eligible. Surveyors went door – to door to invite youth to participate. Surveyors asked questions in a confidential setting, recording answers on a computer. The Violence Injury Protection and Risk Screen (VIPRS) – predicting future violence perpetration, as well as standard violence measures – perpetration, victimisation, dating, and delinquency – were administered. Health and wellness measures – overall health, presence of chronic illness, and mental health diagnoses were collected. Chi-square analysis determined which health and wellness outcomes were associated with a positive VIPRS score. Logistic Regression determined which factors influenced the outcomes of interest. U. Colorado IRB approved the study.

Results 1722 youth eligible/1100 participated: 53% female, 45% Hispanic, 25% Black. 20% were VIPRS +. Youth 13–17 were more likely VIPRS + than youth 10–12: 25.8% vs. 11.0% (p = 0.000);and males > females, 27.8% vs. 13.3% (p = 0.000). There were significant associations between VIPRS + and health outcomes. VIPRS + youth had worse general health, 50% vs. 40% (p < 0.05) and were more likely to suffer from asthma, migraines, and concussions. VIPRS + youth also experienced more mental health issues (41.2% vs. 15.9%, p = 0.000) compared to VIPRS – youth. LR models showed that VIPRS + was the strongest predictor of negative health outcomes.

Conclusions Screening positive for future violence risk is strongly associated with multiple physical and mental health conditions.

Significance/contributions Clinicians identifying youth at risk for future violence should consider assessing for a range of health issues; likewise, as physical and mental health issues are identified, clinicians should assess youth for violence risk.

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