What Challenges Are Boys Facing, and What Opportunities Exist To Address Those Challenges? Fact Sheet: Victimization and Mortality*. What Factors Increase or Decrease Boys' Risks for Victimization and Mortality?

08/15/2008

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:

  • Antisocial beliefs or attitudes(17)
  • Early aggressive behavior, especially for boys(18)
  • Involvement with alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs(19) , (20)
  • Association with delinquent peers(21)
  • Involvement in gangs(22)
  • Poor academic performance(23)

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

  • Access to firearms in the home, especially for boys(24)
  • Exposure to family violence or conflict(25)
  • Low parental education and income(26)
  • Lack of parental monitoring and supervision(27)
  • Socially disorganized neighborhoods(28)

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

  • Intolerant attitude toward deviance(29)
  • High IQ or grade point average(30),(31)
  • Religiosity(32)
  • Connectedness to family(33)
  • Ability to discuss problems with parents(34)
  • Consistent presence of parent during at least one of the following: when awakening, when arriving home from school, at evening mealtime, and when going to bed(35)

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