Purpose: This study analyzed the types and predictors of violent behaviors reported by 4,137 South Carolina adolescents, grades nine through twelve.
Methods: The 70 item self-report Youth Risk Behavior Survey developed and piloted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was utilized in 57 of the state's public high schools. A series of logistic regression analyses were performed for each race/gender group to explore the relation of the demographic and potential risk variables to fighting and carrying weapons.
Results: Results indicate that 38 percent of males and 11 percent of females reported carrying a weapon. Eleven percent of males and five percent of females reported fights resulting in an injury. The strongest predictors of fighting were binge drinking and sexual activity for males, any alcohol use and illegal drug use for white females, and sexual activity for black females. For carrying a weapon, the strongest predictors included alcohol use and sexual activity in all but white females, and illegal drug use among whites, but not blacks.
Conclusion: Prevention of adolescent violence calls for creative approaches in school and community settings and will require long-term intervention strategies, focused on adolescent behavior change and environmental modifications.