Objective: Youth violence recidivism remains a significant public health crisis in the United States. Violence prevention is a requirement of all trauma centers, yet little is known about the effectiveness of these programs. Therefore, this systematic review summarizes the effectiveness of trauma center-based youth violence prevention programs.
Methods: A systematic review of articles from MEDLINE, CINAHL, and PsychINFO databases was performed to identify eligible control trials or observational studies. Included studies were from 1970 to 2013, describing and evaluating an intervention, were trauma center based, and targeted youth injured by violence (tertiary prevention). The social ecological model provided the guiding framework, and findings are summarized qualitatively.
Results: Ten studies met eligibility requirements. Case management and brief intervention were the primary strategies, and 90% of the studies showed some improvement in one or more outcome measures. These results held across both social ecological level and setting: both emergency department and inpatient unit settings.
Conclusions: Brief intervention and case management are frequent and potentially effective trauma center-based violence prevention interventions. Case management initiated as an inpatient and continued beyond discharge was the most frequently used intervention and was associated with reduced rearrest or reinjury rates. Further research is needed, specifically longitudinal studies using experimental designs with high program fidelity incorporating uniform direct outcome measures. However, this review provides initial evidence that trauma centers can intervene with the highest of risk patients and break the youth violence recidivism cycle.
Keywords: community violence; violent offenders; youth violence.
© The Author(s) 2015.