Violence perpetration among urban american Indian youth: can protection offset risk?

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005 Mar;159(3):270-7. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.159.3.270.


Objective: To predict the likelihood of violence perpetration given various combinations of the most statistically salient risk and protective factors related to violence perpetration.

Design: Urban Indian Youth Health Survey, conducted from October 9, 1995, to March 30, 1998, consisting of 200 forced-choice items exploring values, cultural identity, relationships, decision-making skills, and health and well-being.

Setting: Urban schools and an after-school youth development program at an urban American Indian center.

Participants: Five hundred sixty-nine urban American Indian youth enrolled in grades 3 through 12.

Main outcome measures: Violence perpetration dichotomized in 2 ways: (1) level of violence perpetration (ie, hitting someone 1-2 times in the past year vs picking fights, hitting repeatedly, participating in group fights, or shooting or stabbing someone in the past year) and (2) having shot and/or stabbed someone during the past year.

Results: In the final multivariate models with age as a covariate, most protective against violence perpetration were connections to school (odds ratio [OR], 0.17), positive affect (OR, 0.29), and peer prosocial behavior norms against violence (OR, 0.35). School connectedness (OR, 0.01) and positive affect (OR, 0.46) were also protective against shooting and/or stabbing someone, as was parental prosocial behavior norms against violence (OR, 0.23). The strongest risk factors for violence perpetration were substance use (OR, 2.60) and suicidal thoughts/behaviors (OR, 2.71); for shooting and/or stabbing, it was substance use (OR, 5.26). The likelihood of violence perpetration increased markedly (from 10% to 85%) as the exposure to risk factors increased and protective factors decreased. For shooting or stabbing someone, the probabilities ranged from 3% (0 risks and 3 protective factors) to 64% (1 risk and 0 protective factors).

Conclusion: The dramatic reduction in the likelihood of violence involvement when risk was offset with protective factors in the probability profiles suggests the utility of a dual strategy of reducing risk while boosting protection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Affect
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American*
  • Juvenile Delinquency / prevention & control*
  • Juvenile Delinquency / statistics & numerical data
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Male
  • Minnesota
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Peer Group
  • Risk Factors
  • Schools
  • Social Identification
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications
  • Suicide / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Violence / prevention & control*
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data