Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Teen Health

Font Size
A
A
A

Witnessing Violence Makes Teens More Violent

Teens Who See Gun Violence Twice as Likely to Become Violent

WebMD Health News

May 26, 2005 -- Witnessing gun violence may more than double the chances that a teen will participate in violence.

A large, five-year study of Chicago teens showed that those who personally saw someone being shot or shot at were more than twice as likely to participate in gang violence or other violent behavior in the next two years.

"Based on this study's results, showing the importance of personal contact with violence, the best model for violence may be that of a socially infectious disease," says researcher Felton Earls, MD, HMS, of the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, in a news release. "Preventing one violent crime may prevent a downstream cascade of 'infections.'"

Although a link between exposure to gun violence and future violent behavior has been shown by several previous studies, researchers say it's difficult to tease out a cause-and-effect relationship because of the many social, environmental, and economic factors involved.

But by grouping together and comparing teens with similar backgrounds together (some of whom did and did not witness gun violence) researchers say they were able to isolate the independent contribution made by seeing gun violence.

Violence Begets Violence

In the five-year study, which appears in the current issue of Science, researchers interviewed more than 1,500 teens from 78 Chicago neighborhoods at three points in their adolescence.

First, they conducted in-depth interviews with the teens and their caregivers to get information on their family environment, neighborhood, school performance, and other factors that may affect their propensity for violence.

The teens were then interviewed two years later and asked if they had actually seen someone being shot or shot at. Finally, three years after the second interview, they were interviewed again to determine who had participated in gang violence or other violent actions.

After controlling for more than 150 other variables that might cloud the results, researchers found that witnessing gun violence doubled the risk of engaging in violent behavior.

The influence of direct exposure to gun violence far exceeded other risk factors examined in the study, including poverty, drug use, or being raised by a single parent.

Today on WebMD

unhappy teen couple
Article
mini cupcakes
fitSlideshow
 
teen couple
ARTICLE
girl running with vigor
fitSlideshow
 
Sugary drinks
fitSlideshow
teen wearing toning shoes
fitSlideshow
 
young woman texting
Article
teen boy holding a condom
ARTICLE
 
Teen girls eating ice cream
fitQUIZ
teen sleeping
fitARTICLE
 
couple kissing
SLIDESHOW
Taylor Swift
fitSLIDESHOW