Exposure to and experiences of violence among adolescents in lower socio-economic groups in Johannesburg, South Africa.


Journal Article

We explored exposure to and experiences of violence and their risk factors amongst ethnically diverse adolescents from lower socio economic groups in Johannesburg.This cross-sectional study recruited a stratified sample of 16-18 year old adolescents from four low socio-economic suburbs in Johannesburg to reflect ethnic group clustering. We collected socio-demographic, sexual behaviour, alcohol and drug use and trauma events data. Proportions and risk factors were assessed by chi-square and logistic regression.Of 822 adolescents, 57% (n = 469) were female. Approximately 62% (n = 506) were Black, 13% (n = 107) Coloured, 13% (n = 106) Indian and 13% (n = 103) White. Approximately 67% (n = 552) witnessed violence to a non-family member, 28% (n = 228) experienced violence by a non-family member, and 10% (n = 83) reported sexual abuse. Multivariate analysis determined that witnessing violence in the community was associated with being Black (OR: 4.6, 95%CI: 2.7-7.9), Coloured (OR: 3.9, 95%CI: 2.0-7.4) or White (OR: 8.0, 95%CI:4.0-16.2), repeating a grade (OR: 1.5, 95%CI: 1.01-2.1), having more than one sexual partner (OR: 1.7, 95%CI: 1.1-2.5) and ever taking alcohol (OR: 2.1, 95%CI: 1.5-2.9). Witnessing violence in the family was associated with being female (OR: 1.8, 95%CI: 1.3-2.6), being Black (OR: 2.2, 95%CI: 1.1-4.1), or White (OR: 3.0, 95%CI: 1.4-6.4), repeating a grade (OR: 1.6, 95%CI: 1.1-2.2) and ever taking alcohol (OR: 2.9, 95%CI: 2.0-4.3).In low socio-economic areas in Johannesburg, Black, White and Coloured adolescents experience a high burden of violence. Interventions to mitigate the effects of violence are urgently required.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Otwombe, KN; Dietrich, J; Sikkema, KJ; Coetzee, J; Hopkins, KL; Laher, F; Gray, GE

Published Date

  • January 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 15 /

Start / End Page

  • 450 -

PubMed ID

  • 25930034

Pubmed Central ID

  • 25930034

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1471-2458

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1471-2458

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1186/s12889-015-1780-8


  • eng