Teens who have faced assault carry a greater risk of getting involved in another violent encounter especially after their treatment, a study has pointed out.
Dr. Douglas J. Wiebe, lead author of the study from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, conducted a survey using an interactive voice response system to determine the incidence of violent experiences among 12- to 19-year-olds following discharge from the ED.
"Violence is known to be common among adolescents growing up in urban environments, and many emergency departments treat adolescent victims of violence every day. But what they experience when they go home, back to school or back out into the streets is unknown," said Wiebe.
In the study, participants used the phone keypad to answer recorded questions about retaliation and other experiences related to violence for the eight weeks since the event that brought them to the ED in the first place.
Of the 95 patients enrolled, 42 completed the survey.
Results showed that within weeks of being treated in the ED, 56 percent of the adolescents avoided certain places, 47 percent considered retaliating, 38 percent had been threatened and 27 percent carried a weapon.
Involvement in subsequent violence related to the event was common-18 percent had been beaten up, 21 percent had beaten up someone else, 3 percent had been shot or stabbed, and 3 percent had shot or stabbed someone else.
"Violence among urban adolescents is common, and the hospital emergency department is one of the few places adolescents may have contact with the health system. If those most at risk can be identified at the time they receive hospital treatment, it may be possible to intervene at that point and improve their chances for safe living in the future," said Wiebe.
The study was presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.