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Violent behavior of US teenage girls at alarming levels

Posted Jan 14 2010 12:00am
Published January 14th, 2010 in , , , , ,

SAMHSA.gov - A violence report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicates that, in the past year, one quarter (26.7 percent) of adolescent girls participated in a serious fight at school or work, group-against-group fight, or an attack on others with the intent to inflict serious harm.

“These findings are alarming,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. “We need to do a better job reaching girls at risk and teaching them how to resolve problems without resorting to violence.”

When combined, 2006 to 2008 data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows that 18.6 percent of teenage girls got into a serious fight at school or work in the past year, 14.1 percent participated in a group-against-group fight, and 5.7 percent attacked others with the intent to seriously hurt them; one quarter (26.7 percent) of adolescent females engaged in at least one of these violent behaviors in the past year. Other key findings from the NSDUH survey include:

• The prevalence of these violent acts in the past year decreased as annual family income increased. The violent behaviors were reported by 36.5 percent of adolescent females who lived in families with annual incomes of less than $20,000, 30.5 percent of those in families with annual incomes of $20,000-$49,999, 22.8 percent with annual incomes of $50,000 to $74,999, and 20.7 percent with annual incomes of $75,000 or more.

• In the past year, adolescent females who engaged in any of these violent behaviors were more likely than those who did not to have indicated past month binge alcohol use (15.1 vs. 6.9 percent), marijuana use (11.4 vs. 4.1 percent), and use of illicit drugs other than marijuana (9.2 vs. 3.2 percent).

• Adolescent females who were not currently enrolled or attending school were more likely than those who were in school to have engaged in one of these violent behaviors in the past year (34.3 vs. 26.7 percent). Among those who attended school in the past year, rates of violent behaviors increased as academic grades decreased.

Despite media attention on high-profile accounts of females’ acts of violence, rates of these violent behaviors among teenage girls remained stable according to the NSDUH report when comparing combined data from 2002-2004 and 2006-2008.

Violent Behaviors among Adolescent Females is based on the responses of 33,091 female youths aged 12 to 17 participating in the 2006, 2007, and 2008 SAMHSA National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The full report is available online free at:

Violent behaviors among adolescent females

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