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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