Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Drinking, Depression in Seventh Grade Can Predict Teen Violence: Responsive Mothers May Be Key

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Drinking, Depression in Seventh Grade Can Predict Teen Violence: Responsive Mothers May Be Key

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- Seventh graders who drink and/or are depressed are among those likely to engage in violence within the next 18 months, Jonathan L. Blitstein said during a poster presentation at the annual meeting of the Society for Prevention Research.

Those findings come from surveys of 2,335 students in fall 1998, when they were in seventh grade and had a mean age of 12.7 years, and again in spring 1999, when they were in eighth grade. The data analyzed by Mr. Blitstein and his associates were a subset of the information gathered as part of a schoolbased dietary change program designed to reduce future cancer risks.

The baseline survey included questions about certain psychosocial variables. Depression was measured using the 20-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale; spirituality and future outlook were assessed by using six and four items, respectively, adapted from the Voice of Connecticut Youth survey.

The students were asked to categorize the parenting styles of their mothers and fathers. Authoritative parenting balanced warmth, responsiveness, and control; nonauthoritative parenting was intrusive, nonresponsive, and excessively controlling, Mr. Blitstein said.

Other questions covered their use of alcohol in the past 30 days, binge drinking in the past 2 weeks, and use of either marijuana or inhalants in the past 30 days.

As part of the follow-up survey, the students were asked how often in the past 12 months they had carried a weapon, hit or beaten someone, taken part in a gang fight, hurt someone badly enough to require medical care, or used a gun or knife to take something that did not belong to them, said Mr. …

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