VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA — When adolescents are treated in an emergency department (ED) after being assaulted, they have a significant chance of being involved in another violent encounter soon afterward, according to a study being presented Monday, May 3 at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
“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 Douglas J. Wiebe, PhD, lead author of the study from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Dr. Wiebe’s team 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. 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,” said Dr. Wiebe, assistant professor of epidemiology in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. “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.”
To see the abstract, go to http://www.abstracts2view.com/pas/view.php?nu=PAS10L1_2862&terms
The Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) are four individual pediatric organizations who co-sponsor the PAS Annual Meeting — the American Pediatric Society, the Society for Pediatric Research, the Academic Pediatric Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Members of these organizations are pediatricians and other health care providers who are practicing in the research, academic and clinical arenas. The four sponsoring organizations are leaders in the advancement of pediatric research and child advocacy within pediatrics, and all share a common mission of fostering the health and well being of children worldwide. For more information, visit www.pas-meeting.org. Follow news of the PAS meeting on Twitter at http://twitter.com/PedAcadSoc.