Positive Hopes and Dreams May Protect Urban Youth From Violence

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alison J. Culyba, MD, PhD, MPH Instructor in the Craig-Dalsimer Division of Adolescent Medicine Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Dr. Culyba

Alison JCulyba, MD, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Homicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents, and disproportionately affects minority youth in under-resourced urban communities.

Most research on youth violence focuses on risk factors, such as weapon carrying and substance abuse. We know much less about factors that protect youth from violence. Future orientation, defined as hopes and plans for the future, is linked to many important positive outcomes for youth, including doing well in school and avoiding illicit substances. However, there has been very little research to examine whether future orientation may also protect youth from violence.

To study links between future orientation and violence perpetration, we surveyed over 850 male youth in lower resource neighborhoods in Pittsburgh as part of a community-based sexual violence prevention study. We found that youth with positive future orientation were significantly less likely to report threatening someone with a weapon or injuring someone with a weapon in the past nine months.

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Pregnancy May Be a Time of Heightened Homicide Risk, Particularly For Young Black Women

Pauline Mendola, PhD Investigator, Epidemiology Branch Division of Intramural Population Health Research Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH Bethesda, MD 20892

Dr. Pauline Mendola

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Pauline Mendola, PhD
Investigator, Epidemiology Branch
Division of Intramural Population Health Research
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH
Bethesda, MD 20892

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Efforts to monitor and reduce maternal mortality during and around the time of pregnancy largely focus on causes physiologically related to the pregnancy, despite the fact that increasing evidence suggests violent death – including homicide and suicide – are leading causes.

In this study, we analyzed US death certificates from 2005-2010 from states that include pregnancy information on the death record in order to estimate rates of pregnancy-associated homicide and suicide, and to determine if risk of violent death was increased for women during pregnancy and postpartum. Given the large proportion of death records with unknown pregnancy status, we adjusted for a range of possible misclassification and found that pregnancy-associated homicide risk ranged from 2.2-6.2 per 100,000 live births, while pregnancy-associated suicide risk ranged from 1.6-4.5 per 100,000 live births. Overall, homicide risk was 1.8 times higher among pregnant/postpartum women compared to non-pregnant women in the population. The risk of suicide was 38% lower among pregnant/postpartum women than the general population.

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