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Youth violence and mental health: repeating exposures

Manuel Ángel Oscós-Sánchez (The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, USA)

International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare

ISSN: 2056-4902

Article publication date: 10 July 2017




The purpose of this paper is to discover and describe salient repeating and less common features of the recent medical literature about youth violence as it relates to mental health. How the relationship between youth violence and mental health is commonly conceptualized, investigated, and reported is summarized. Negative cases, unique approaches, and concepts are discussed.


An Ovid Medline literature search was conducted with the search parameters of “adolescent and violence” and “psychiatry or psychology or mental health.” In total, 66 articles met inclusion criteria and were analyzed using grounded theory procedures and techniques.


In all, 49 articles were reports of original research, 14 were literature reviews, and three were editorials. The articles included discussions of youth violence and mental health among young people in 49 countries. Most original research used cross-sectional designs that tested and supported the core hypothesis that greater exposure to violence is associated with more mental health issues. The relationship is robust even though characterizations of “exposure to violence” and “mental health” were highly variable. Meta-analytic and intervention studies were rare.


The core feature of the last decade of medical research has been the repeated testing and confirmation that a relationship between exposure to violence and mental health exists. Future youth violence research should move beyond continuing to test this hypothesis with cross-sectional study designs.



Oscós-Sánchez, M.Á. (2017), "Youth violence and mental health: repeating exposures", International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 174-186.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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