Violence perpetration among urban American Indian youth: Can protection offset risk?

Linda H. Bearinger, Sandra Pettingell, Michael D. Resnick, Carol L. Skay, Sandra J. Potthoff, John Eichhorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Objective: To predict the likelihood of violence perpetration given various combinations of the most statistically salient risk and protective factors related to violence perpetration. Design: Urban Indian Youth Health Survey, conducted from October 9, 1995, to March 30, 1998, consisting of 200 forced-choice items exploring values, cultural identity, relationships, decision-making skills, and health and well-being. Setting: Urban schools and an after-school youth development program at an urban American Indian center. Participants: Five hundred sixty-nine urban American Indian youth enrolled in grades 3 through 12. Main Outcome Measures: Violence perpetration dichotomized in 2 ways: (1) level of violence perpetration (ie, hitting someone 1-2 times in the past year vs picking fights, hitting repeatedly, participating in group fights, or shooting or stabbing someone in the past year) and (2) having shot and/or stabbed someone during the past year. Results: In the final multivariate models with age as a covariate, most protective against violence perpetration were connections to school (odds ratio [OR], 0.17), positive affect (OR, 0.29), and peer prosocial behavior norms against violence (OR, 0.35). School connectedness (OR, 0.01) and positive affect (OR, 0.46) were also protective against shooting and/or stabbing someone, as was parental prosocial behavior norms against violence (OR, 0.23). The strongest risk factors for violence perpetration were substance use (OR, 2.60) and suicidal thoughts/ behaviors (OR, 2.71); for shooting and/or stabbing, it was substance use (OR, 5.26). The likelihood of violence perpetration increased markedly (from 10% to 85%) as the exposure to risk factors increased and protective factors decreased. For shooting or stabbing someone, the probabilities ranged from 3% (0 risks and 3 protective factors) to 64% (1 risk and 0 protective factors). Conclusion: The dramatic reduction in the likelihood of violence involvement when risk was offset with protective factors in the probability profiles suggests the utility of a dual strategy of reducing risk while boosting protection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-277
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2005


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