Bottom Line: This observational study of adolescent men in urban neighborhoods examined associations between social support, patterns of violence, and violence-related risk behaviors or protective factors that might mitigate them. The analysis included data from a recently completed randomized clinical trial that included 866 male adolescents from lower-resource neighborhoods in Pittsburgh who were enrolled at community agencies. Participants were surveyed on issues including violence, bullying, sexual and dating violence, substance use and involvement in school. The authors report that a high level of social support was associated with fewer risk behaviors among young people, and high social support and mentoring were both associated with a lower likelihood of being involved in a gang. The results suggest understanding the associations between different types of violence and their related risk and protective factors may help in prevention efforts. A limitation of the study was that it was conducted in urban neighborhoods in a single city, which may limit its generalizability to other communities.
Authors: Alison J. Culyba, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and coauthors
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