One-third of U.S. teens engage in violence

Sept. 25, 2010 at 1:06 AM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Almost one-third of U.S. teens, about 8 million, say they participated in violent behavior at least once in the past year, officials say.

The study by researchers at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration finds 22.6 percent of adolescents reported having participated in a serious fight at school or work; 16.1 percent reported involvement in group-against-group fighting; and 7.5 percent reported attacking others with intent to hurt them seriously.

Overall, male adolescents were more likely to engage in violent behaviors than females -- 34.6 percent vs. 27.0 percent. Twenty-four percent of adolescents from families with annual incomes of $75,000 or more reported being involved in violent behaviors, while more than 40 percent of adolescents from families with annual incomes of less than $20,000 reported violent behavior.

About 18 percent of adolescents with "A" averages in school reported being involved in violent behavior but about 54 percent of teens with "D" averages reported violent behavior.

"Youth violence has long lasting, devastating consequences -- the alarming rates of violence found by this study reinforce the importance of our efforts to prevent violence," Pamela S. Hyde, SAMHSA administrator, says in a statement.

The study used data from the 2004 to 2008 SAMHSA National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which involve interviews with 112,885 adolescents.

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