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Physical environment and violence perpetration among male youth in Pittsburgh: a spatial analysis
  1. Brady Bushover1,
  2. Elizabeth Miller2,
  3. Megan Bair-Merritt3,
  4. Kaleab Abebe4,
  5. Alison Culyba2
  1. 1 University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
  2. 2 Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
  3. 3 Division of General Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  4. 4 Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
  1. Correspondence to Brady Bushover, Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA; brb112{at}


Purpose Examine associations between features of the built environment and violence perpetration among male youth.

Methods We enrolled 866 male adolescents, ages 13–19 years, as part of a violence prevention study in 20 lower-resource neighbourhoods in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Exposure to built environmental features was defined using participants’ neighbourhood study site. Violence perpetration was measured by three survey items: physical fighting, threatening someone with a weapon, and injuring someone with a weapon. Logistic regression models examined associations between each environmental feature and violence perpetration.

Results Better neighbourhood walkability was associated with significantly lower odds of fighting (adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=0.86, 95% CI 0.76 to 0.99). Alcohol and tobacco outlets were associated with slightly lower odds of violence perpetration (AORs=0.89–0.96).

Conclusions This work extends previous studies from large urban centres to a mid-sized city context and suggests that walkable neighbourhoods create opportunities for social interactions and may serve as a protective factor in youth violence.

  • violence prevention
  • environment
  • spatial distribution
  • adolescent

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  • Funding This work was supported by Academic Pediatric Association Young Investigator Award, PI: Culyba, NIH/NCATS 1 KL2 TR001856, PI: Kapoor; Scholar: Culyba and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant number U01CE002528, PI: Miller.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.