Giving Compass’ Take:
· Ben Panko at Smithsonian Magazine analyzes a study published in the American Journal of Public Health explaining that violence among teens is contagious and can spread quickly.
· What are some factors that contribute to violence among teens? What can be done to help troubled adolescents?
· Read more about teen violence and how therapy can help.
If you’re a teenager, how do you know whether it’s cool to smoke cigarettes, curse or get a cartilage piercing? Look around: To find out what’s socially acceptable, impressionable adolescents generally turn to their peers. Now, new research finds that this social dynamic also plays out when it comes to more violent behaviors.
A new study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, draws on surveys of thousands of teens to reveal how the people around you influence your tendency to engage in violence. The authors report that adolescents are far more likely to commit a violent act if a friend has already done so—adding evidence to a mounting theory that violence in communities can spread like a disease.
The study was born of an unusual collaboration between Ohio State University social psychologist Brad Bushman and OSU political scientist Robert Bond. Bushman, who has written and lectured extensively on humans and violence, was interested in exploring the model of violence spreading like a contagious disease that had beens popularized by University of Illinois at Chicago epidemiologist Gary Slutkin. Bond had expertise in analyzing social networks. “We just really hit off and decided that we should to try find a way to merge our research interests,” Bond says.
Read the full article about teen violence by Ben Panko at Smithsonian Magazine.
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