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Am J Prev Med. 2018 Oct;55(4):462-469. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2018.05.017. Epub 2018 Aug 20.

Violence-Related Disparities Experienced by Black Youth and Young Adults: Opportunities for Prevention.

Author information

Division of Violence Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia. Electronic address:
Division of Violence Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.
Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, District of Columbia.



The purpose of this study is to characterize violence-related disparities experienced by young blacks in the U.S. Reducing violence experienced by blacks, particularly youth, who are at substantially higher risk, is essential to improving the health of blacks in the U.S.


Data from four independent data sets for youth and adults were analyzed to examine rates of homicide, assault, injury from a physical fight, bullying victimization, and missing school because of safety concerns for non-Hispanic blacks and whites aged 10-34 years between 2010 and 2015. Disparities in adverse childhood experiences (e.g., exposure to violence and household challenges) and physical/mental health outcomes in adulthood were examined. Data were analyzed in 2017.


Black adolescents and young adults are at higher risk for the most physically harmful forms of violence (e.g., homicides, fights with injuries, aggravated assaults) compared with whites. In addition, black adults reported exposure to a higher number of adverse childhood experiences than whites. These adverse childhood experiences were positively associated with increased odds of self-reported coronary heart disease, fair or poor physical health, experiencing frequent mental distress, heavy drinking, and current smoking.


Disproportionate exposure to violence for blacks may contribute to disparities in physical injury and long-term mental and physical health. Understanding the violence experiences of this age group and the social contexts surrounding these experiences can help improve health for blacks in the U.S. Communities can benefit from the existing evidence about policies and programs that effectively reduce violence and its health and social consequences.

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