TitleYouth at Risk: Identifying Correlates of Violence in Bolivia
AuthorsShaeffer Z., Dearden K. A., de La Cruz N. G., Crookston B. T., Jensen J. D., Rees C., Quigley S.
PublicationInt J Adolesc Med Health. 2008 Mar; 19(4):473-83.
AbstractBACKGROUND: Although violence is one of the leading causes of mortality worldwide, in Latin America the prevalence of violence and factors associated with violent behavior among youth are largely unknown. OBJECTIVE: We describe the prevalence of carrying a weapon among Bolivian adolescent males and identify risk factors associated with weapon carrying. METHODS: The Youth Risk Behavior Survey was administered to a sample of teenagers 13-18 years of age (394 males and 182 females) from randomly selected schools in La Paz, Bolivia. The study is limited to males because of the small sample size for females. Frequencies and chi-square tests were calculated and logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with carrying a weapon in the past 30 days. RESULTS: Among the sample population, one-quarter of adolescent boys reported carrying a weapon in the previous 30 days. Ever having used cigarettes was the risk factor most strongly associated with weapon carrying. Additional risk factors included having participated in a physical fight, having used cocaine, and sniffing glue or other inhalants. CONCLUSION: Our results showed a link between weapon carrying and other risk behaviors, including smoking, drug use and fighting. Understanding the factors associated with carrying weapons among youth is an essential step in determining which risk behaviors should be included in comprehensive programs focused on youth violence prevention.