1 in 4 Teen Girls Involved in Violent Acts


In the past year, nearly 27 percent of girls ages 12-17 participated in a serious fight at school or work, group-against-group fight, or an attack on others with the intent to inflict serious harm, according to a report released Jan. 13 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

“These findings are alarming,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D.  “We need to do a better job reaching girls at risk and teaching them how to resolve problems without resorting to violence.”

When combined, 2006 to 2008 data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows that 18.6 percent of adolescent females got into a serious fight at school or work in the past year, 14.1 percent participated in a group-against-group fight, and 5.7 percent attacked others with the intent to seriously hurt them; one quarter (26.7 percent) of adolescent females engaged in at least one of these violent behaviors in the past year.

Other key findings from the NSDUH survey include:

  • The prevalence of these violent acts in the past year decreased as annual family income increased. The violent behaviors were reported by 36.5 percent of adolescent females who lived in families with annual incomes of less than $20,000, 30.5 percent of those in families with annual incomes of $20,000-$49,999, 22.8 percent with annual incomes of $50,000 to $74,999, and 20.7 percent with annual incomes of $75,000 or more.
  • In the past year, adolescent females who engaged in any of these violent behaviors were more likely than those who did not to have indicated past month binge alcohol use (15.1 vs. 6.9 percent), marijuana use (11.4 vs. 4.1 percent), and use of illicit drugs other than marijuana (9.2 vs. 3.2 percent).
  • Adolescent females who were not currently enrolled or attending school were more likely than those who were in school to have engaged in one of these violent behaviors in the past year (34.3 vs. 26.7 percent).  Among those who attended school in the past year, rates of violent behaviors increased as academic grades decreased.


The full report is available online at: http://oas.samhsa.gov/2k9/171/171FemaleViolence.cfm.


Excerpts from SAMHSA Jan. 13 press release

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