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J Adolesc Health. 1997 Dec;21(6):356-65.

Assaultive violence in the community: psychological responses of adolescent victims and their parents.

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Department of Pediatrics, UCLA School of Medicine 90056, USA.



This article presents an overview of psychological responses to injuries due to assaultive violence, particularly gunshot wounds, in adolescents and parents.


Reviews were conducted of the psychological, medical, and public health literature to identify studies of violent injury in adolescent populations. Studies reviewed in this article include those reporting levels of gunshot and other violent injuries among pediatric patients in urban hospitals and those examining psychological responses of children and parents to violent injury and parental responses to potential death of a child.


Existing literature indicates that the number of adolescent victims of assaultive violence is increasing. Adolescent victims of assaultive violence and their parents may experience significant psychological distress including school difficulties, guilt and fears of subsequent injury, and changes in risk behaviors and perceptions of life.


Greater awareness of the psychological repercussions of injury due to assaultive violence for adolescents and their families is needed among medical professionals. Hospital based interventions, which may include psychological support for adolescents and their parents and referrals for academic evaluation and assistance, should be developed for adolescent trauma victims and their families.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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