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Ambul Pediatr. 2002 Nov-Dec;2(6):475-84.

Violence risk and protective factors among youth held back in school.

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Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455-2002, USA.



To identify risk and protective factors for violence perpetration among youth with a history of grade retention.


Longitudinal analysis of in-home interviews of 13,781 adolescents in grades 7 through 12 conducted in 1995 and 1996.


Serious interpersonal violence perpetration at time 2 by time 1 independent variables including measures of community and school context, family context, and individual characteristics.


The 20% of girls and 28% of boys who had repeated 1 or more grades were more likely than those who had not to be in the top quintile of violence perpetration at time 2 (P <.001). For both girls and boys with a history of grade repetition, predictive risk factors with an odds ratio of 3 or greater (P <.001) included time 1 violence perpetration, violence victimization, weapon carrying, school problems, and alcohol and marijuana use. Although a high grade point average was a significant protective factor against violence perpetration for both girls (odds ratio, 0.36; P <.05) and boys (odds ratio, 0.23; P <.001), performance on a validated measure of verbal knowledge was not associated with violence perpetration over the study period. School connectedness, parent-family connectedness, and emotional well-being were also significant universal protectors against violence perpetration.


Youth who are held back in school are at heightened risk for violence perpetration. Violence-related behaviors and substance use considerably increase the likelihood of this outcome. The findings suggest that schools can participate in violence prevention by providing youth with a positive community and academic experience.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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