Academic journal article Violence and Victims

Interpersonal Youth Violence Perpetration and Victimization in a Diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander Adolescent Sample

Academic journal article Violence and Victims

Interpersonal Youth Violence Perpetration and Victimization in a Diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander Adolescent Sample

Article excerpt

This study was the first to examine ethnic, sex, and ethnicity-by-sex differences for underresearched, Asian American and Pacific Islander, adolescent groups on youth violence outcomes other than cyberbullying. This effort included the less researched, emotional violence, and included socioeconomic status (SES) measures as covariates. The sample size from 2 high schools in spring 2007 was 881, using an epidemiologic survey design. The pattern of results was higher rates of violence victimization for ethnic groups, with lower representation in the 2 schools' population, and ethnic groups that more recently moved or immigrated to Hawai'i. For emotional victimization, girls of European American and "other" ethnicities self-reported higher rates than boys. Several implications (e.g., need for ethnically and gender-based approaches) and further research (e.g., ethnocultural identity) are discussed.

Keywords: interpersonal youth violence; Asian Americans; Pacific Islanders; perpetration; victimization

Youth violence encompasses a wide range of behaviors, from teasing and name-calling to homicide. Homicide is the second leading cause of death for youth ages 15-24 years old in the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2009). Yet, homicide represents only a small fraction of youth violence. Based on CDC's 1999-2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), approximately 34% of high school students reported that they were in a physical fight in the past year, and 13% reported that they were in a physical fight on school property in the past year (SugimotoMatsuda, Hishinuma, & Chang, 2013). In addition, studies consistently have shown the strong relationship between violence perpetration and victimization (e.g., Ozer & McDonald, 2006) as well as the negative long-term effects into adulthood of mere exposure to violence and engagement in violence during childhood (Loeber & Dishion, 1983; Patterson, Crosby, & Vuchinich, 1992; Tharp-Taylor, Haviland, & D'Amico, 2009). The human toll and financial costs associated with violence in the United States are substantial (CDC, 2012; Else, Goebert, Bell, Carlton, & Fukuda, 2009; Miller, Cohen, & Wiersema, 1996; Miller, Fisher, & Cohen, 2001; Sieger, Rojas-Vilches, McKinney, & Renk, 2004; Tharp-Taylor et al., 2009). The human toll includes problems, such as physical and psychological pain, and adverse effects on families, communities, and society. Costs include resources related to medical and mental health care, the justice system, intervention programs, and property-value decreases.

Interpersonal violence is a heterogeneous construct. One obvious distinction at the individual level is between those who perpetrate violence and those who are the victims of violence. Another dimension of violence is violence type-for example, physical versus emotional violence. Physical violence can include hitting, pushing, or shoving another person, whereas emotional violence can include social exclusion, teasing, name-calling, spreading rumors and gossip, or cyberbullying with the intent to cause harm to another person (Crick, 1997; David-Ferdon & Hertz, 2007).


The association between youth violence and ethnicity has been a critically important one (Guerra & Smith, 2006; Mark & Nishigaya, 2009), especially in light of the changing ethnic demographics in the United States, whereby the projection is that the United States will not have a majority group by the Year 2043 (Frey, 2008; Yen, 2012). Previous U.S. national studies have found ethnic differences in victimization and perpetration. In general, African American, Native American, and Hispanic American youth tended to be at highest risk, whereas European American, Asian American, and combined Asian American/ Pacific Islander adolescents tended to have the lowest violence perpetration and/or victimization risk (National Survey of Adolescents [Kilpatrick, Saunders, & Smith, 2003]; National Crime Victimization Survey [Lauritsen, 2003]; Snyder & Sickmund, 2006; U. …

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