230551 Violent and Delinquent Behavior among Adolescent Students in Puerto Rico

Monday, November 8, 2010

Margarita R. Moscoso-Alvarez, MEd, PhD , Department of Foundations in Education, School of Education, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR
Linnette Rodriguez-Figueroa, MSc, PhD , Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Puerto Rico, Graduate School of Public Health, San Juan, PR
Juan C. Reyes, EdD, MS , Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Puerto Rico, Graduate School of Public Health, San Juan, PR
Hector Colón, PhD , Center for Evaluation and Sociomedical Research, School of Public Health, San Juan, PR
Adolescents' violence and delinquent behaviors are the most dramatic problems that school and communities had to face this decade. More effort and understanding is needed in order to deal with this public health problem. This cross-sectional study, the "Consulta Juvenil VII" survey (2005-07), sought to describe the delinquent behavior patterns in a nationally representative sample of school adolescents in Puerto Rico. The sample (n=13,730) was selected using a multi-stage stratified cluster sampling design. Logistic regression analyses were performed to assess the strength of the association between selected variables and delinquent behavior. Delinquent behavior was defined as reporting at least one of the following eleven violent or delinquent behaviors in the past year: carrying a gun, taking a gun to school, hurting someone so bad it required medical treatment, hitting a teacher, gang membership, selling drugs, stealing from a store, grabbing a purse/jewelry from someone, vandalism, breaking and entering to steal, and having been arrested. Sixteen percent (16.1%) of adolescents reported at least one delinquent behavior in the last year, 41.1% of which reported ≥2 behaviors. Students that reported illicit drug use in the last year had almost seven times higher odds of having a delinquent behavior (OR=6.68,p<0.001) than those with no drug use. Alcohol use was also associated with delinquent behavior (OR=4.73,p<0.001). More males (OR=2.01,p<0.001) and high school students (OR=1.11,p=0.03) reported delinquent behavior than females and middle school students, respectively. Findings from this study would be valuable in conceptualizing approaches for violence prevention in children and adolescents.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe school adolescents’ violence and delinquent behavior patterns and its relationship to illicit drugs and alcohol use.

Keywords: Adolescents, Violence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the PI of the project, conceptualized the data analysis, and wrote the abstract.
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.