Teen Violence

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project completed:
October 2004
This study will use national data to assess the prevalence of violence among rural youth, define risk factors for violence exposure among rural youth, and assess the current ability of rural school systems to provide appropriate mental health care and/or referrals for youth exposed to violence. Violence is both a primary indicator of and a precursor to child mental health problems, as well as a significant cause of mortality. Youth exposed to violence report more psychiatric symptoms, such as anger and dissociation, as well as lower life satisfaction. However, youth exposed to violence rarely receive mental health interventions. Delivery of mental health services to youth, in both rural and urban areas, is hindered by the limited number of child and adolescent psychiatrists and the reluctance of children or their families to use mental health services not provided within a school setting. A national assessment of the prevalence of violence among rural youth, and of resources available to combat the causes and sequelae of violence, has not been performed. Comparisons of urban/rural areas, and of particular problems faced by rural minority youth, could be used to help community mental health centers plan effective interventions.