HHS/ASPE. U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.Background

What Challenges Are Boys Facing, and What Opportunities Exist To Address Those Challenges?

Fact Sheet:
Victimization and Mortality*

This Fact Sheet is available on the Internet at:
http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/08/boys/FactSheets/vm/

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Contents

Russell would usually cross the street when he saw those three guys. They didn’t live in his neighborhood, but he’d sometimes see them hanging around — just smoking or drinking. They weren’t always in school, but when they were, they usually bullied the younger kids and caused trouble. But this time, there was no avoiding them. Walking home with his friend after band practice, he turned the corner and there they were. Russell gave a nod, but they didn’t want to be friendly. They wanted his jacket and his wallet. Russell’s not a violent person, but he’s starting to think that he should carry a gun to protect himself.

Some Facts About Victimization and Mortality

Boys as Victims and as Victimizers

Mortality

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What Factors Increase or Decrease Boys’ Risks for Victimization and Mortality?

By studying boys who behave aggressively as well as those, like Russell, who become the victims of violence, researchers have learned valuable lessons about boys’ and girls’ risk factors — those traits and life experiences that can jeopardize a person’s healthy development — and protective factors — the characteristics and life experiences that can increase a person’s likelihood of positive outcomes.

Individual risk factors that may contribute to victimizing behavior:

Ways families, schools, and communities may contribute to the risk of victimization:

Individual and family factors that may help protect youth from the risk of victimization and early mortality:

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Conclusion

Youth violence is an important public health issue that results in injuries, victimization, and often death, especially for boys. Given the serious consequences of violence among young people, researchers have made considerable efforts to understand what factors make boys more susceptible to violence and victimization and what factors protect them from harm.

Research indicates that boys, like Russell — who have a negative attitude toward aggressive behavior, have positive friendships, and are involved in structured activities — are less likely to become violent. Other protective factors include having supportive and caring parents, having good problem solving and conflict resolution skills, living in neighborhoods where firearms are not readily available, and not being involved in gangs. Boys who have been exposed to family or neighborhood violence, or spend time among aggressive peers, are more likely both to engage in violent acts and to become victims of violence.

Although researchers have learned a lot about boys’ mortality and victimization, there is a need to build on prior research to continue to identify what strengths make some boys more likely to succeed and what risks, or challenges, increase the likelihood that they will struggle.

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Endnotes

*  This fact sheet is based on a comprehensive review of the scientific literature, including computer searches of major bibliographic databases (e.g., PsycINFO, MEDLINE/PubMed, EBSCOhost) looking for epidemiological studies that evaluate what factors make boys more or less prone to certain outcomes. The literature search was limited to scholarly journal articles and government documents published in 2000 and later unless an article was a seminal piece in the field or contributed to tracking trends over time. The statistics provided are from the most recent year for which data were available. Where possible, data related specifically to boys are included, but when these data were not available, data on youth, ages 10 to 18, are provided. [Return to text]

1.  Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. (2007). America’s children: Key national indicators of well being, 2007. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

2.  Child Trends. (n.d.). Violent crime victimization. In Child Trends Databank. Retrieved November 14, 2007, from http://www.childtrendsdatabank.org/indicators/71ViolentVictimization.cfm

3.  Richards, M. H., Larson, R., Miller, B. V., Luo, Z., Sims, B., Parrella, D. P., et al. (2004). Risky and protective contexts and exposure to violence in urban African American young adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 33, 138-148.

4.  Snyder, H. N., & Sickmund, M. (2006). Juvenile offenders and victims: 2006 National Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

5.  Snyder, H. N., & Sickmund, M. (2006).

6.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2006). Youth risk behavior surveillance-United States, 2005. MMWR Surveillance Summaries, 55, 1-108.

7.  Nansel, T. R., Overpeck, M., Pilla, R. S., Ruan, W. J., Simons-Morton, B., & Scheidter, P. (2001). Bullying behaviors among U.S. youth: Prevalence and association with psychosocial adjustment. JAMA, 285, 2094-2100.

8.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2006).

9.  Child Trends. (n.d). Teen homicide, suicide, and firearm death. In Child Trends Data Bank. Retrieved November 14, 2007, from http://www.childtrendsdatabank.org/indicators/70ViolentDeath.cfm

10.  Child Trends. (n.d). Teen homicide, suicide, and firearm death.

11.  Child Trends. (n.d). Teen homicide, suicide, and firearm death.

12.  Child Trends. (n.d). Teen homicide, suicide, and firearm death.

13.  Child Trends. (n.d.). Teen homicide, suicide, and firearm death.

14.  Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2007). Expanded homicide data table 2: Murder victims by age, sex, and race, 2006. In Crime in the United States, 2006. Retrieved February 10, 2008, from http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2006/offenses/expanded_information/data/shrtable_02.html

15.  National Adolescent Health Information Center. (2006). 2006 fact sheet on mortality: Adolescents and young adults. Retrieved May 29, 2008, from http://nahic.ucsf.edu//downloads/Mortality.pdf (PDF format)

16.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Web-based injury statistics query and reporting system (WISQARS). Retrieved May 29, 2008, from http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars/

17.  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2001). Youth violence: A report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

18.  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2001).

19.  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2001).

20.  Resnick, M. D., Ireland, M., & Borowsky, I. (2004). Youth violence perpetration: What protects? What predicts? Findings from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Journal of Adolescent Health, 35, 424.e1 -424.e10.

21.  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2001).

22.  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2001).

23.  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2001).

24.  Resnick, M. D., Ireland, M., & Borowsky, I. (2004).

25.  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2001).

26.  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2001).

27.  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2001).

28.  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2001).

29.  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2001).

30.  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2001).

31.  Resnick, M. D., Ireland, M., & Borowsky, I. (2004).

32.  Resnick, M. D., Ireland, M., & Borowsky, I. (2004).

33.  Resnick, M. D., Ireland, M., & Borowsky, I. (2004).

34.  Resnick, M. D., Ireland, M., & Borowsky, I. (2004).

35.  Resnick, M. D., Ireland, M., & Borowsky, I. (2004).

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Additional Resources

To download an electronic copy of this document visit:
http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/08/boys/FactSheets

For additional fact sheets in this series or for more information and resources on boys, including promising interventions and federal approaches to help boys, visit:

Fact Sheets
http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/08/boys/FactSheets

Findings Brief
http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/08/boys/Findings1

Annotated Bibliography
http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/08/boys/Biblio


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