Intimidated teenagers are more likely to bring weapons to school


HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Nov. 27, 2017 (HealthDay News) – Harbaded teens are twice as likely to carry weapons, such as weapons or knives, to the school, according to a new study reveals

Three factors were related to a higher probability of high school students carrying a weapon during school hours: fighting at school; be threatened or injured at school; and skipping school for fear of their safety.

"If the children were intimidated, but not out of fear of their physical safety, there was no greater risk of carrying a weapon," said lead researcher Dr. Andrew Adesman. He is the chief of pediatrics of development and behavior at the Cohen Children's Medical Center in New York in New Hyde Park.

However, "almost 50 percent of the children who felt the three threats carried a weapon," Adesman said.

School violence is a serious problem in the United States, with 45 school shootings reported only in 2015, the researchers said in background notes. The Adesman team wanted to see how aggression between peers could influence the likelihood of carrying weapons.

Researchers used data from the US Juvenile Risk Behavior Survey. UU 2015 on more than 15,600 adolescents in grades 9 to 12. Researchers focused on three types of weapons: weapons, knives and clubs.

The findings showed that just over one in five students reported being bullied during the past year. Of these children, just over 4 percent said they took a gun to school the previous month.

Teenagers who skipped school because they feared for their safety were more than three times as likely to carry a weapon as children who had not been abused. Those who had fights at school were more than five times more likely to carry a weapon, the researchers found.

And adolescents who were threatened or injured at school were almost six times more likely to carry a weapon to school.

Students who faced all three problems were much more likely to be armed in school (46 percent) than adolescents who were not bullied (2.5 percent), according to the study.

However, it is not known how often such weapons were used or whether children who reported being harbaded and armed were also badailants, Adesman said.

But because of the potentially terrible consequences, parents should look for signs that their child is being bullied, he advised. Red flags include unexplained injuries, torn clothing, reports of fights at school or reluctance to go to school.

Parents and schools have a role in stopping bullying and helping children who feel they should arm themselves in self-defense, Adesman said.

The new report was published online on November 27 in the journal Pediatrics .

Melissa Holt, badociate professor of counseling psychology at Boston University, said it is essential to identify the teens most likely to arm themselves.

Screening tests in places like pediatrician's offices, mental health clinics and schools can help, said Holt, co-author of an accompanying magazine editorial.

In addition, "this study highlights the importance of understanding the complexities in the link between victimization and the operation of bullying," Holt said.

This type of "nuanced approach" is critical when considering what factors could increase the risk of negative consequences, such as drug use, or reduce the risk of negative outcomes, such as support from parents and peers, added .

More information

For more information about bullying, visit the US Department of Health and Human Services. UU

SOURCES: Andrew Adesman, MD, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics, Cohen Children's New York Medical Center, New Hyde Park, NY; Melissa Holt, Ph.D., badociate professor, counseling psychology, Boston University; November 27, 2017, Pediatrics online

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