Tag Archives: Co-occurrence of Violence-Related Risk and Protective Behaviors and Adult Support Among Male Youth in Urban Neighborhoods

University of Pittsburgh study: High social support associated with less violence among male teens in urban neighborhoods

15 Sep

Denise Williams had a hit with a catchy little tune, “let’s hear it for the boy.” The question for many parents and schools is how are boys doing? Boy Crisis is an organization which examines challenges faced by boys. According to Boy Crisis:

WHAT IS THE BOY CRISIS?

IT’S A CRISIS OF EDUCATION.                                                                                                    Worldwide, boys are 50 percent less likely than girls to meet basic proficiency in reading, math, and science.
IT’S A CRISIS OF MENTAL HEALTH.
ADHD is on the rise. And as boys become young men, their suicide rates go from equal to girls to six times that of young women.
IT’S A CRISIS OF FATHERING.
Boys are growing up with less-involved fathers and are more likely to drop out of school, drink, do drugs, become delinquent, and end up in prison.
IT’S A CRISIS OF PURPOSE.
Boys’ old sense of purpose—being a warrior, a leader, or a sole breadwinner—is fading. Many bright boys are experiencing a “purpose void,” feeling alienated, withdrawn, and addicted to immediate gratification.
SO, WHAT IS THE BOY CRISIS?
A comprehensive blueprint for what parents, teachers, and policymakers can do to help our sons become happier, healthier men and fathers and leaders worthy of our respect…. http://boycrisis.org/

Boys face different issues than those faced by girls.

Gary Wilson wrote thoughtful article about some of the learning challenges faced by boys. Boys Barriers to Learning He lists several barriers to learning in his article.

1. Early years
a. Language development problems
b. Listening skills development
2. Writing skills and learning outcomes
A significant barrier to many boys’ learning, that begins at quite an early age and often never leaves them, is the perception that most writing that they are expected to do is largely irrelevant and unimportant….
3. Gender bias
Gender bias in everything from resources to teacher expectations has the potential to present further barriers to boys’ learning. None more so than the gender bias evident in the ways in which we talk to boys and talk to girls. We need to be ever mindful of the frequency, the nature and the quality of our interactions with boys and our interactions with girls in the classroom….A potential mismatch of teaching and learning styles to boys’ preferred ways of working continues to be a barrier for many boys….
4.Reflection and evaluation
The process of reflection is a weakness in many boys, presenting them with perhaps one of the biggest barriers of all. The inability of many boys to, for example, write evaluations, effectively stems from this weakness….
5. Self-esteem issues
Low self-esteem is clearly a very significant barrier to many boys’ achievement in school. If we were to think of the perfect time to de-motivate boys, when would that be? Some might say in the early years of education when many get their first unwelcome and never forgotten taste of failure might believe in the system… and themselves, for a while, but not for long….
6. Peer pressure
Peer pressure, or the anti-swot culture, is clearly a major barrier to many boys’ achievement. Those lucky enough to avoid it tend to be good academically, but also good at sport. This gives them a licence to work hard as they can also be ‘one of the lads’. …To me one of the most significant elements of peer pressure for boys is the impact it has on the more affective domains of the curriculum, namely expressive, creative and performing arts. It takes a lot of courage for a boy to turn up for the first day at high school carrying a violin case….
7. Talk to them!
There are many barriers to boys’ learning (I’m currently saying 31, but I’m still working on it!) and an ever-increasing multitude of strategies that we can use to address them. I firmly believe that a close examination of a school’s own circumstances is the only way to progress through this maze and that the main starting point has to be with the boys themselves. They do know all the issues around their poor levels of achievement. Talk to them first. I also believe that one of the most important strategies is to let them know you’re ‘on their case’, talking to them provides this added bonus….

If your boy has achievement problems, Wilson emphasizes that there is no one answer to address the problems. There are issues that will be specific to each child. See, https://www.garywilsonraisingboysachievement.com/publications

Science Daily reported in High social support associated with less violence among male teens in urban neighborhoods:

Among teen boys in urban neighborhoods with low resources, the presence of adult social support is linked to significantly fewer occurrences of sexual violence, youth violence and bullying, and to more positive behaviors, including school engagement and future aspirations, according to a new study from researchers at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
The study, published today in JAMA Network Open, suggests that prevention efforts that focus on adult support can mitigate patterns of co-occurring violent behavior.
“Teen boys in urban neighborhoods are disproportionately exposed to violence and consequently are at higher risk of violence perpetration and victimization,” said the study’s senior author Alison Culyba, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., a physician at UPMC Children’s Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics at Pitt’s School of Medicine. “Historically, research often has focused on a single type of violence, but our study shows that there are complex co-occurring behavior patterns and shared protective factors that we need to pay attention to.”
The researchers analyzed survey data from a recently completed sexual violence prevention trial that enrolled 866 adolescent boys aged 13- to 19-years-old from lower-resource neighborhoods in the Pittsburgh region. More than three fourths of the participants self-identified as black and six percent self-identified as Hispanic.
The survey included data on 40 “risk” and 18 “protective” behaviors that were classified into one of seven categories — youth violence, bullying, sexual and/or dating violence, violence exposure and adversities, substance use, school engagement, and career and future aspirations. The participants also rated their personal level of dependable adult social support.
When it came to the data analysis, Culyba and her colleagues took a less conventional approach. “We borrowed methods that have proven effective for large scale genetic analyses,” she said.
The analysis revealed interesting patterns. Teen boys with high social support engaged in approximately eight of the 40 risk behaviors — significantly fewer than those with low social support who engaged in around 10 risky behaviors. Those who had high social support and reported more career and future aspirations were less likely to report all types of violent behavior. In contrast, among those with low social support, school engagement was an important protective factor. Feeling happy at a school that promoted diversity was strongly correlated with fewer instances of both physical and sexual partner violence and dating abuse.
The researchers also found patterns in how different violent behaviors co-occurred. The strongest correlations were between different types of sexual violence perpetration behaviors. For example, teens who endorsed posting sexual pictures of partners were 14 times more likely to also report having coerced someone who they were going out with to have sex. On the other hand, while gang involvement was infrequently associated with violence perpetration, it was more frequently reported among those who had been exposed to sexual violence, bullying or substance use.
“Our analysis revealed how interconnected these behaviors are,” said Culyba. “By creating programs that help parents and mentors support teen boys, we may be able to reduce multiple types of violence at once.”
The authors caution that the study is limited in that the findings don’t demonstrate causative links, and further analysis of the associations is required. “It’s a starting point for beginning to understand detailed patterns of violence at a much deeper level — and for offering new opportunities for prevention,” said Culyba…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190913111348.htm

Citation:

High social support associated with less violence among male teens in urban neighborhoods
Date: September 13, 2019
Source: University of Pittsburgh
Summary:
Researchers find that the presence of adult social support is linked to less violence among at-risk teen boys.

Journal Reference:
Alison J. Culyba, Elizabeth Miller, Steven M. Albert, Kaleab Z. Abebe. Co-occurrence of Violence-Related Risk and Protective Behaviors and Adult Support Among Male Youth in Urban Neighborhoods. JAMA Network Open, 2019; 2 (9): e1911375 DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.11375

Here is the press release from the University of Pittsburgh:

NEWS RELEASE 13-SEP-2019
High social support associated with less violence among male teens in urban neighborhoods
UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH
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PITTSBURGH, Sept. 13, 2019 – Among teen boys in urban neighborhoods with low resources, the presence of adult social support is linked to significantly fewer occurrences of sexual violence, youth violence and bullying, and to more positive behaviors, including school engagement and future aspirations, according to a new study from researchers at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
The study, published today in JAMA Network Open, suggests that prevention efforts that focus on adult support can mitigate patterns of co-occurring violent behavior.
“Teen boys in urban neighborhoods are disproportionately exposed to violence and consequently are at higher risk of violence perpetration and victimization,” said the study’s senior author Alison Culyba, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., a physician at UPMC Children’s Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics at Pitt’s School of Medicine. “Historically, research often has focused on a single type of violence, but our study shows that there are complex co-occurring behavior patterns and shared protective factors that we need to pay attention to.”
The researchers analyzed survey data from a recently completed sexual violence prevention trial that enrolled 866 adolescent boys aged 13- to 19-years-old from lower-resource neighborhoods in the Pittsburgh region. More than three fourths of the participants self-identified as black and six percent self-identified as Hispanic.
The survey included data on 40 “risk” and 18 “protective” behaviors that were classified into one of seven categories — youth violence, bullying, sexual and/or dating violence, violence exposure and adversities, substance use, school engagement, and career and future aspirations. The participants also rated their personal level of dependable adult social support.
When it came to the data analysis, Culyba and her colleagues took a less conventional approach. “We borrowed methods that have proven effective for large scale genetic analyses,” she said.
The analysis revealed interesting patterns. Teen boys with high social support engaged in approximately eight of the 40 risk behaviors — significantly fewer than those with low social support who engaged in around 10 risky behaviors. Those who had high social support and reported more career and future aspirations were less likely to report all types of violent behavior. In contrast, among those with low social support, school engagement was an important protective factor. Feeling happy at a school that promoted diversity was strongly correlated with fewer instances of both physical and sexual partner violence and dating abuse.
The researchers also found patterns in how different violent behaviors co-occurred. The strongest correlations were between different types of sexual violence perpetration behaviors. For example, teens who endorsed posting sexual pictures of partners were 14 times more likely to also report having coerced someone who they were going out with to have sex. On the other hand, while gang involvement was infrequently associated with violence perpetration, it was more frequently reported among those who had been exposed to sexual violence, bullying or substance use.
“Our analysis revealed how interconnected these behaviors are,” said Culyba. “By creating programs that help parents and mentors support teen boys, we may be able to reduce multiple types of violence at once.”
The authors caution that the study is limited in that the findings don’t demonstrate causative links, and further analysis of the associations is required. “It’s a starting point for beginning to understand detailed patterns of violence at a much deeper level — and for offering new opportunities for prevention,” said Culyba.
Culyba notes that the findings align with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Connecting the Dots Initiative, which encourages prevention programs that identify and address these common underlying factors through community involvement to keep kids safe.
###
Additional authors on the study included Elizabeth Miller, M.D., Ph.D., of Pitt and UPMC Children’s Hospital, and Steven Albert, Ph.D., and Kaleab Abebe, Ph.D., both of Pitt.
The study was funded by National Institutes of Health Grant T21 TR001856, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant U01CE002528, and the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation.
To read this release online or share it, visit http://www.upmc.com/media/news/091319-culyba-jama [when embargo lifts].
About UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
Regionally, nationally, and globally, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh is a leader in the treatment of childhood conditions and diseases, a pioneer in the development of new and improved therapies, and a top educator of the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists. With generous community support, UPMC Children’s Hospital has fulfilled this mission since its founding in 1890. UPMC Children’s is recognized consistently for its clinical, research, educational, and advocacy-related accomplishments, including ranking in the top 10 on the 2019-2020 U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. UPMC Children’s also ranks 15th among children’s hospitals and schools of medicine in funding for pediatric research provided by the National Institutes of Health (FY2018).
About the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
As one of the nation’s leading academic centers for biomedical research, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine integrates advanced technology with basic science across a broad range of disciplines in a continuous quest to harness the power of new knowledge and improve the human condition. Driven mainly by the School of Medicine and its affiliates, Pitt has ranked among the top 10 recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health since 1998. In rankings recently released by the National Science Foundation, Pitt ranked fifth among all American universities in total federal science and engineering research and development support.
Likewise, the School of Medicine is equally committed to advancing the quality and strength of its medical and graduate education programs, for which it is recognized as an innovative leader, and to training highly skilled, compassionate clinicians and creative scientists well-equipped to engage in world-class research. The School of Medicine is the academic partner of UPMC, which has collaborated with the University to raise the standard of medical excellence in Pittsburgh and to position health care as a driving force behind the region’s economy. For more information about the School of Medicine, see http://www.medschool.pitt.edu.
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Some in society are pushing the concept of gender-neutral. Alina Tugend wrote Engendering Sons: Is It Doable—or Even Desirable—to Raise Gender-Neutral Children?

Overcoming gender disparities may require us to take a more nuanced approach to problem solving. For example, if we want more girls and women, who are now woefully underrepresented, to take more science, technology, engineering, and math classes, and we agree that it’s not innate ability holding them back, the answer might be to show scientists, engineers, and mathematicians to be attractive and caring rather than nerdy. Or change the physical environment of classrooms and laboratories to make them more appealing to girls.
Then again, does this counter or reinforce gender stereotypes? Good people disagree.
One thing that’s easy to forget, as Janet Hyde points out, is that variations within genders are greater than variations between them. I see the truth of that in my own home. Both my boys are into sports, but one is far more talkative and intellectually curious, while the other ranks higher on intuition and emotional intelligence. If they were a boy and a girl, it would be easy to attribute these differences to gender. As it is, I guess I’ll have to blame—or credit—the vast and ever-shifting mishmash of biology, parenting, peer influence, and culture. http://alumni.berkeley.edu/california-magazine/winter-2014-gender-assumptions/engendering-sons-it-doable-or-even-desirable
One study points to the idea that gender concept starts early.

Science Daily reported in Infants prefer toys typed to their gender:

Children as young as 9 months-old prefer to play with toys specific to their own gender, according to a new study from academics at City University London and UCL.
The paper, which is published in the journal of Infant and Child Development, shows that in a familiar nursery environment significant sex differences were evident at an earlier age than gendered identity is usually demonstrated.
The research therefore suggests the possibility that boys and girls follow different developmental trajectories with respect to selection of gender-typed toys and that there is both a biological and a developmental-environmental components to the sex differences seen in object preferences.
To investigate the gender preferences seen with toys, the researchers observed the toy preferences of boys and girls engaged in independent play in UK nurseries, without the presence of a parent. The toys used in the study were a doll, a pink teddy bear and a cooking pot for girls, while for boys a car, a blue teddy, a digger and a ball were used.
The 101 boys and girls fell into three age groups: 9 to 17 months, when infants can first demonstrate toy preferences in independent play (N=40); 18 to 23 months, when critical advances in gender knowledge occur (N=29); and 24 to 32 months, when knowledge becomes further established (N=32).
Stereotypical toy preferences were found for boys and girls in each of the age groups, demonstrating that sex differences in toy preference appear early in development. Both boys and girls showed a trend for an increasing preference with age for toys stereotyped for boys….
“Our results show that there are significant sex differences across all three age groups, with the finding that children in the youngest group, who were aged between 9-17months when infants are able to crawl or walk and therefore make independent selections, being particularly interesting; the ball was a favourite choice for the youngest boys and the youngest girls favoured the cooking pot.”
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/16

See Dr. Wilda https://drwilda.com/tag/gender/ , https://drwilda.com/tag/gender-differences/

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