260948 Youth violence across multiple dimensions: A study of violence, absenteeism and suspensions among middle school children

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 12:50 PM - 1:10 PM

Marizen Ramirez, PhD , Occupational and Environmental Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Yuan Wu, PhD , Injury Prevention Research Center, University of Iowa, Iowa City, CA
Sheryl Kataoka, MD , Semel Institute, Department of Psychology, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Jingzhen Yang, PhD, MPH , Community and Behavioral Health, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Corinne Peek-Asa, Peek-Asa , College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Bradley Stein, PhD , RAND, RAND, Pittsburg, PA
Objective: Violence comes in multiple forms. Few studies have examined how various forms of violence differentially impact youth. The objective of this study is to determine how multi-dimensional measures of violence correlate with school absenteeism and suspensions among middle school youth.

Study Design: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 2004 with 28,882 6th graders from an urban school district. Data were collected on role (witness, victim, perpetrator) and mode (verbal, physical, weapons) of past-year violence exposures, and absences and suspensions over one academic year. Associations between violence and absenteeism and suspension were estimated using Generalized Linear Models.

Results: ORs for suspension increased from witnessing to victimization to perpetration and then victimization-perpetration. Among those exposed to weapons, victims (ORboys=1.45; ORgirls=1.38) had similar or slightly higher ORs for absenteeism than perpetrators (ORboys=1.39; ORgirls=1.17). Boy victims and witnesses of physical violence had similar absenteeism patterns as those unexposed to physical violence. Of all exposed girls, victim-perpetrators had the highest ORs for absenteeism (OR=1.76).

Conclusion: Exposure to violence correlated with absenteeism and suspension. The strength of these relationships depended on mode and role in exposure. Our cross-sectional data limits our ability to establish casuality. Findings have implications for prevention.

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

Learning Objectives:
1. List the multiple forms of violence, including within the roles (witness, victim, perpetrator) and modes (verbal, physical, weapons). 2. Discuss how mode and role in violence exposure are associated with school outcomes (i.e., absenteeism and suspensions).

Keywords: Violence, Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been PI of multiple funded projects focused school-based injuries. My interests include primary and secondary injury prevention at schools.
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.