Study finds victims of youth violence often involved in more violence

Apr 6, 2015

A new study shows many young victims of assault will likely be involved in more violence.   

University of Michigan researchers followed at-risk young people in Flint for four years, nearly 600 men and women between the ages of 14 and 24 from 2009 through 2013.  

U of M’s Patrick Carter says 59% were involved in firearm violence within two years of being assaulted.  Many of the incidents occurred less than six months after the assault that originally sent them to the emergency room. 

Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan (file photo)
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Carter says an assault victim in the study was 40% more likely to be involved in a violent incident after landing in a hospital emergency room than a person their own age who went to the ER for other medical reasons. 

“It doesn’t surprise me in that we know that firearm violence is the second leading cause of death among youth overall in the United States,” says Carter. 

The researchers say youth violence should be treated like a “chronic disease” with early intervention programs. 

Past efforts led by U-M researchers to develop interventions for lower-risk teens with drinking and fighting have met with success. The new data could make it easier to adapt these types of approaches for use among this higher-risk population. (The Study) also notes that technology, including mobile devices, could be used to help augment these types of interventions, allowing for contact and continued intervention with teens and young adults after their ER visit.

The study was published in the journal Pediatrics by a team from the UM Injury Center and UM Medical School.