Friday, February 24, 2012

NO HITTING!! February is Teen Dating and Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

A number of our terrific seniors are engaged in teen health activities this month, Sonia on teen attitudes on sources of sexual health information, Jen and Rita on interactive strategies to raise awareness and knowledge about core health education important for youth, Patti Jo on college health issues.

During our group discussion, Rita mentioned the unhealthy trend of Date Fighting and it's association with relationship violence. (e.g. a young man grabbing a girl's wrist and punching her in the arm). Many of you may have seen youth 'horsing around' - punching each other or grabbing someone. This may seem innocuous, but the rates of interpersonal violence tell us another story. The inability to address anger and frustration or have role models who show how to do so in a healthy fashion;  the role of trauma as an layer that confounds health all contribute to interpersonal violence. Clinicians play a pivotal role in talking with youth and highlighting that they have different options. 

Here's the AAP's policy statement about the role of the Pediatrician in Youth Violence
Prevention http://www.clemson.edu/olweus/aap.pdf and here's ACOG's Tool Kit for Teen Care Tool Kit for Teen Care ACOG 2009 

There was another article of interest that I came across - Attitudes Affecting Physical Dating Violence Perpetration and Victimization: Findings From Adolescents in a High-Risk Urban Community   Ali, Bina; Swahn, Monica; Hamburger, Merle. Violence and Victims26. 5 (2011): 669-83.  This article discussed factors in adolescent hitting and dating violence behavior across gender difference lines. Boys and girls hit, maybe for different reasons. The support of their friends associated with behavior, among other items was associated with interpersonal / dating violence. There are number of interesting risk factors they found. One that I found interesting was that they found the lack of self-efficacy and illicit drug use were unique important factors associated with physical dating violence perpetration for girls only.

Violence prevention is a health issue - as clinician's we need to develop our antennaes and help young women and men to heal from trauma and to be able to lead healthier lives.

That’s Not Cool.com, is a national public education campaign that uses digital examples of controlling, pressuring, and threatening behavior to raise awareness about and prevent teen dating abuse. OVW also funds the National Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474. Teens can also text “loveis” to 77054 to reach an advocate or chat on line by clicking on the icon found on loveisrespect.org.

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