Violence exposure and young people’s vulnerability, mental and physical health

Clarke, Andrew, Olive, Philippa orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9175-1285, Akooji, Naseerah orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-8254-3257 and Whittaker, Karen orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3493-9396 (2020) Violence exposure and young people’s vulnerability, mental and physical health. International Journal of Public Health, 65 . pp. 357-366. ISSN 1661-8556

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To analyse the impact of being affected by domestic and/or relationship violence in early adolescence on indicators of health and wellbeing.

Secondary data analysis of a cross-sectional survey of 13-14 year-old pupils attending schools in north-west England; with variables relating to vulnerability, violence, mental and physical health. The sample of 9,626 represented 71% of the eligible population. Chi-squared tests and logistic regression were used to analyse demographic exposure to violence and outcomes.

Pupils affected by domestic and/or relationship violence had significantly worse outcomes and experiences than non-affected peers. Odds ratios demonstrated higher risks of being lonely, being bullied or having deliberately self-harmed. They were also more likely to report an enduring health condition, poorer health practices and worse access to and experiences of health services.

Exposure to violence in domestic and/or relationships is detrimental to children and young people’s mental and physical health and vulnerability. Health risks and inequalities reported by CYP in this study provide compelling intelligence for renewed strategic policy level consideration in the design and delivery of young peoples’ health services.

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