High Social Support associated with less violence among male teens in urban neighbourhoods

Posted on September 23, 2019

The presence of adult social support is linked to significantly fewer occurrences of sexual violence, youth violence and bullying, and to more positive behaviours, including school engagement and future aspirations. This study suggests that prevention efforts that focus on adult support can mitigate patterns of co-occurring violent behaviour.

Analysis revealed that teen boys with high social support engaged in approximately 8 of the 40 risk behaviours – significantly fewer than those with low social support who engaged in around 10 risky behaviours. Those who had high social support and reported more career and future aspirations were less likely to report all types of violent behaviour.

In contrast, among those with low social support, school engagement was an important protective factor. Feeling happy at a school that promoted diversity was strongly correlated with fewer instances of both physical and sexual partner violence and dating abuse.

Researchers also found patterns in how different violent behaviours co-occurred. The strongest correlations were between different types of sexual violence perpetuation behaviours. For example, teens who endorsed posting sexual pictures of partners were 14 times more likely to also report having coerced someone who they were going out with to have sex. On the other hand, while gang involvement was infrequently associated with violence perpetration, it was more frequently reported among those who had been exposed to sexual violence, bullying or substance use.

The analysis revealed how interconnected behaviors are – and through this creation of programs that help parents and mentors support teen boys, multiple types of violence may be reduced at once.

Source material from Science Daily

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