Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting: Antisocial Traits, Fighting, and Weapons Carrying in a Large Sample of Youth
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The current study examines risk and protective factors for youth antisocial personality and behavior from a multivariate format. It is hoped that this research will elucidate those risk and protective factors most important for focus of future prevention and intervention efforts. The current study examines multiple factors associated with youth antisocial traits and behavior in a sample of 8,256 youth (mean age 14), with the goal of identifying the strongest and most consistent risk or protective factors. Data was collected from the Ohio version of the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System’s (YRBSS) school-based Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) developed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Hierarchical multiple regression analyses identified peer delinquency, drug use and negative community influences as predictive of antisocial traits. Schools and families functioned as protective factors. Youth who fought frequently tended to be male, antisocial, dug using, depressed, and associated with delinquent peers. Weapons carrying was most common among drug using, antisocial males. Television and video game use were not predictive of antisocial, fighting or weapons carrying outcomes. Developmental patterns across age ranges regarding the relative importance of specific risk factors were also examined. Strategies for intervention and prevention of youth violence that focus on peers, neighborhoods, depression, and families may be particularly likely to bear fruit.
KeywordsViolence Aggressive behavior Adolescence Mass media Family environment Peer delinquency
The authors would like to thank the Mental Health Recovery Services of Warren and Clinton Counties, Ohio as well as the Family and Children First Councils of Warren and Clinton Counties for their role in administering the YRBS and gathering the data described herein. We also thank Patti Ahting, Sandy Smoot, and Marsha Wagstaff for their assistance and support.
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