Factors Associated with Retaliatory Attitudes among African American Adolescents Who have been Assaulted

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Objectives(a) To describe attitudes regarding retaliation among adolescents who have been assaulted. (b) To examine assault/event characteristics, personal, parental, and environmental factors associated with the retaliatory attitudes of adolescents who have been assaulted.MethodsAfrican American youth aged 10–15 years presenting to two large urban hospitals with peer assault injury and a parent/caregiver completed interviews in their home after their emergency department visit.ResultsMultivariate analyses revealed that lower SES, older age, and adolescents’ perceptions that their parents support fighting were related to endorsing retaliatory attitudes. Girls who were aggressive were more likely to endorse retaliatory attitudes. However, level of aggression did not impact boys’ retaliatory attitudes. Affiliating with aggressive peers influenced the retaliatory attitudes of boys, but did not influence girls’ retaliatory attitudes. Overall, youths’ perceptions of their parents’ attitudes toward fighting had the greatest impact on retaliatory attitudes.ConclusionsAdolescents’ perceptions of their parents’ attitudes toward fighting may be a factor in subsequent re-injury among youth. Violence prevention and intervention efforts need to involve components that assess parental attitudes and incorporate strategies to engage parents in violence prevention efforts. In addition, interventions for youth who have been assaulted may need to incorporate some gender-specific components in order to address the unique needs of girls and boys.

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