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J Adolesc Health. 1999 Jun;24(6):395-402.

Ten years after: examination of adolescent screening questions that predict future violence-related injury.

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Pediatric and Adolescent Health Research Centre, The Floating Hospital for Children at New England Medical Center, and Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.



To determine which screening questions used in routine adolescent health care maintenance visits correlate with subsequent violence-related injury.


A prospective cohort study was undertaken of adolescents initially seen at the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) in 1986. Risk factor data were collected based on the adolescent health intake form in the medical records. The primary outcome measure, time until first violence-related injury was determined through identification on chart review of the treatment of any such injuries at the urgent care center at EBNHC in the subsequent 10 years. Kaplan-Meier survival statistics and Cox proportional hazards models were used to account for loss of patients to follow-up.


Median follow-up for this sample was >5 five years. Male gender, cigarette smoking, alcohol use, other drug use, poor relationships with parents, not being in school or failing school, and history of fighting in the past year, predicted violence-related injury within the follow-up period. The number of fights in the past year appeared to have a dose-response effect on risk of subsequent violence-related injury. A simple screening instrument consisting of items concerning school status, drug use, and fighting history was used to stratify youth into low, moderate, and high risk of violence-related injury during the follow-up period.


These results suggest that a simple three-item screening instrument may be used to stratify the risk of future injury at the time of adolescent health maintenance visits. Further research is indicated to validate this finding in other populations. Interventions designed to assist adolescents who are not in school or who have drug use problems should also incorporate violence prevention strategies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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