Effects of a primary care-based intervention on violent behavior and injury in children

Iris Wagman Borowsky, Sara Mozayeny, Kristen Stuenkel, Marjorie Ireland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Objective. Although many major health care organizations have made recommendations regarding physicians' roles in preventing youth violence, the efficacy of violence prevention strategies in primary care settings remains to be empirically tested. Methods. We conducted a randomized, controlled trial to evaluate the effects of an office-based intervention on children's violent behaviors and violence-related injuries. Children 7 to 15 years of age who presented at 8 pediatric practices and scored positive on a brief psychosocial screening test (n = 224) were randomly assigned to an intervention group (clinicians saw the screening test results during the visit and a telephone-based parenting education program was made available to clinicians as a referral resource for parents) or a control group (clinicians did not see the screening test results). Results. Compared with control subjects, at 9 months after study enrollment, children in the intervention group exhibited decreases in aggressive behavior (adjusted mean difference: -1.71; 95% confidence interval [CI]: -2.89 to -0.53), delinquent behavior (adjusted mean difference: -0.71; 95% CI: -1.28 to -0.13), and attention problems (adjusted mean difference: -1.02; 95% CI, -1.77 to -0.26) on the Child Behavior Checklist. Children in the intervention group had lower rates of parent-reported bullying (adjusted odds ratio: 4.43; 95% CI: 1.87-10.52), physical fighting (adjusted odds ratio: 1.79; 95% CI: 1.11-2.87), and fight-related injuries requiring medical care (adjusted odds ratio: 4.70; 95% CI: 1.33-16.59) and of child-reported victimization by bullying (adjusted odds ratio: 3.23; 95% CI: 1.96-5.31). Conclusions. A primary care-based intervention that includes psychosocial screening and the availability of a parenting education resource can decrease violent behavior and injury among youths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e392-e399
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2004


  • Parenting education
  • Prevention
  • Primary care
  • Psychosocial intervention
  • Violence
  • Youth


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