Exposure to and experiences of violence among adolescents in lower socio-economic groups in Johannesburg, South Africa Health behavior, health promotion and society

Journal Article

© 2015 Otwombe et al.; licensee BioMed Central.Background: We explored exposure to and experiences of violence and their risk factors amongst ethnically diverse adolescents from lower socio economic groups in Johannesburg. Methods: 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. Results: 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). Conclusions: 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

  • 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 15 / 1

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1471-2458

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1186/s12889-015-1780-8