Future Outlook Tied to Risk of Weapon Violence in Male Teens

Young males with positive orientation have lower odds of threatening, injuring someone with a weapon

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TUESDAY, July 3, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Positive future orientation is associated with reduced odds of weapon-related violence perpetration among teenage males from low-resource neighborhoods, according to a research letter published online July 2 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Alison J. Culyba, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues examined the correlation between future orientation -- defined as hopes and plans for the future -- and violence perpetration among male youths in low-resource neighborhoods. A total of 866 males aged 13 to 19 years were enrolled. Participants completed baseline in-person surveys relating to future orientation (seven questions encompassing aspirations, goal-setting, and contributions), violence perpetration, school enrollment, and demographics. Three validated Youth Risk Behavior Survey items were used to assess perpetration of violence in the past nine months.

The researchers observed a correlation for having a positive future orientation with significantly reduced odds of threatening someone with a weapon and injuring someone with a weapon (adjusted odds ratios, 0.66 and 0.6, respectively). There were correlations for placing high importance on reaching personal goals and believing in one's ability to make a positive difference in the world with significantly reduced odds of threatening someone with a weapon (adjusted odds ratios, 0.56 and 0.69, respectively) and injuring someone with a weapon (adjusted odds ratios, 0.45 and 0.59, respectively).

"Interventions that promote positive future orientation may be important in reducing risk of violence perpetration," the authors write.

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