Adolescent boys with at least one parent in the military are at elevated risk of engaging in school-based physical fighting, carrying a weapon and joining a gang, according to research presented today at the American Public Health Association’s 139th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.
The study by researchers at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health looked at the strain of military deployment on U.S. families, particularly its toll on adolescent boys and girls whose parents are on active duty. The research is based on data from the 2008 Washington State Healthy Youth Survey of more than 10,000 adolescents in the 8th, 10th and 12th grades of public schools.
The study finds that military deployment is associated with a 1.77 higher odds of physical fighting and 2.14 higher odds of gang membership among adolescent boys in 8th grade. Girls in 8th grade with at least one parent in the military were at twice the risk of carrying a weapon.