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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