Risk factors in adolescents’ involvement in violent behaviours
Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.
School of Medical and Health Sciences / Child Health Promotion and Research Centre
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine risk factors associated with Western Australian secondary school students’ involvement in violence-related behaviours. Design/methodology/approach – This cross-sectional study examined data collected using an anonymous self-completion questionnaire from 542 school students aged 13-17 years. The questionnaire measured risk factors associated with being a perpetrator and/or victim of violence-related behaviours. Findings – Gender was significantly associated with being a victim and perpetrator of violence-related behaviours. Males were significantly more likely than females to be a victim of threatening and physical violence at school, and to be a perpetrator of physical violence at school and in the community. Males were significantly more likely than females to watch violent media, with exposure to violent media associated with physically hurting someone at school. Students involved in greater acts of animal cruelty had increased odds of being involved in all forms of the violence measured. Research limitations/implications – Limitations such as the cross-sectional nature of the study and the small sample size are noted, along with suggestions for future research. Practical implications – Implications of the research for practitioners working with adolescents, with a particular focus on the school setting, are discussed. Originality/value – Most previously published research on adolescent involvement in violence has been conducted outside Australia, and as such, may not be directly applicable to the experiences of young people in Western Australia.