206030 Urban female adolescents' perspectives on violent behavior: A qualitative approach

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 1:10 PM

Ebony Sandusky, MPH , Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI
Stella Resko, MSW, PhD , Addiction Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Maureen Walton, MPH, PhD , Addiction Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Rebecca Cunningham, MD , Department of Emergency Medicine, Injury Research Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Marc Zimmerman, PhD , Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Female adolescents' rates engagement in violent behavior and prosecution has risen, necessitating public health and social work interventions that address violent behavior in this population. Detailed and nuanced accounts of violent behavior among female adolescents in an urban community are needed to inform intervention development. The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore the lived experiences, meaning, and context of violence among female adolescents (aged 14-18) in an urban Michigan community. Interview data are drawn from brief interventions conducted in the context of a larger randomized controlled trial addressing violent behavior and alcohol use among adolescents seeking treatment in the Emergency Department. Thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) was utilized to identify key themes capturing important elements regarding female adolescents' (n=35) experiences of violence with peers and dating partners. Preliminary themes focus on the influence of environmental context on violent behavior, weapon carrying and use, and the interrelationship of victimization and perpetration. Participants discussed how family, friends, peers and neighborhood context both contributed to and discouraged violent behavior. Adolescents described how violent behavior, including weapon carrying, was used for varying reasons including conflict resolution, protection and coping mechanisms for feelings of anger and/or fear. Key findings suggest that female adolescents in this sample view violent behavior as an adaptive strategy in contexts in which violence and victimization is perceived as normative. Results can be used as formative research in the development and refinement of social work interventions addressing female adolescents' violent behavior.

Learning Objectives:
1) Describe key qualitative findings regarding urban female adolescentsí violent behavior with peers and dating partners and weapon carrying. 2) Identify uses for secondary qualitative data in the development of public health and social work interventions. 3) Discuss strategies for addressing environmental context in public health and social work interventions.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have completed design and analysis tasks on the proposed study. My academic research focuses on female adolescents' involvement in behaviors which place them at risk for adverse outcomes. I have conducted qualitative research studies using both primary and secondary data collection. I have approximately five years of experience coordinating health education and youth programs.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Youth Empowerment And Safety
See more of: Social Work