Violent behaviour among adolescents in Iceland: A national survey

Gerdur Run Gudlaugsdottir, Runar Vilhjalmsson, Gudrun Kristjansdottir, Rune Jacobsen, Dan Meyrowitsch

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BACKGROUND: Violence among adolescents may have serious developmental, physical, and mental health consequences for the affected individuals. In this study, we assessed the prevalence of violent behaviour and its correlates among 15-16 year old schoolchildren in Iceland.
METHODS: In 1997, a cross-sectional survey was conducted among a random half of all Icelandic schoolchildren aged 15-16 years. The overall response rate was 91% (N = 3872). In the present study, socio-demographic background, social support, negative life events, psychological distress, and substance use were considered in relation to violent behaviour using logistic regression techniques.
RESULTS: The majority of the respondents reported having committed violence within the last year. Boys were more likely to use violence than girls (odds ratio [OR] = 5.6; 95% CI: 4.7, 6.6). Respondents who had experienced >/=4 negative life events in the past year were more likely to use violence than respondents with no negative life events (OR = 3.0; 95% CI: 2.2, 4.2). Smokers were more likely than non-smokers to use violence (OR = 1.7; 95% CI: 1.2, 2.2), and adolescents who had used alcohol >20x in their lifetime were more than twice as likely to commit violence compared with those who had never used alcohol (OR = 2.5; 95% CI: 1.8, 3.4).
CONCLUSION: Rates of violent behaviour among Icelandic schoolchildren were high. Gender, parental support, life stress, anger/aggression, and substance use were all significantly related to the perpetration of violent acts.
TidsskriftInternational Journal of Epidemiology
Udgave nummer5
Sider (fra-til)1046-51
Antal sider5
StatusUdgivet - okt. 2004
Udgivet eksterntJa

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