The Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 21–31

“You Get Caught Up”: Youth Decision-Making and Violence

  • Luke O. Hansen
  • Barbara Tinney
  • Chisara N. Asomugha
  • Jill L. Barron
  • Mitesh Rao
  • Leslie A. Curry
  • Georgina Lucas
  • Marjorie S. Rosenthal
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10935-013-0328-x

Cite this article as:
Hansen, L.O., Tinney, B., Asomugha, C.N. et al. J Primary Prevent (2014) 35: 21. doi:10.1007/s10935-013-0328-x

Abstract

Violence is a major cause of morbidity and mortality among adolescents. We conducted serial focus groups with 30 youth from a violence prevention program to discuss violence in their community. We identified four recurrent themes characterizing participant experiences regarding peer decision-making related to violence: (1) youth pursue respect, among other typical tasks of adolescence; (2) youth pursue respect as a means to achieve personal safety; (3) youth recognize pervasive risks to their safety, frequently focusing on the prevalence of firearms; and (4) as youth balance achieving respect in an unsafe setting with limited opportunities, they express conflict and frustration. Participants recognize that peers achieve peer-group respect through involvement in unsafe or unhealthy behavior including violence; however they perceive limited alternative opportunities to gain respect. These findings suggest that even very high risk youth may elect safe and healthy alternatives to violence if these opportunities are associated with respect and other adolescent tasks of development.

Keywords

Youth violence Adolescent development Qualitative research Focus groups 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luke O. Hansen
    • 1
  • Barbara Tinney
    • 2
  • Chisara N. Asomugha
    • 7
  • Jill L. Barron
    • 3
  • Mitesh Rao
    • 4
  • Leslie A. Curry
    • 5
  • Georgina Lucas
    • 5
  • Marjorie S. Rosenthal
    • 6
  1. 1.Division of Hospital MedicineNorthwestern University Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA
  2. 2.New Haven Family AllianceNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.Yale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  4. 4.Northwestern UniversityChicagoUSA
  5. 5.Yale University School of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars ProgramNew HavenUSA
  6. 6.Department of PediatricsYale University School of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars ProgramNew HavenUSA
  7. 7.Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid ServicesBaltimoreUSA

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