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?


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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