Month: March 2012

Research Behind the RAAPS Questions (Question #7)

RAAPS Question #7 Abuse

Many acts of violence occur at home. Forms of violence may be physical, emotional or sexual. In 2006, one or both parents were responsible for 75.9% of child abuse or neglect fatalities.  5.4% of fatalities caused by abuse and neglect were among youth ages 12-17 years. Sexual violence results in nearly 32,000 pregnancies each year.

Physical manifestations of violence include chronic pain, headaches, stomach problems, and sexually transmitted infections. Furthermore, victims of sexual violence are more likely to engage in unhealthy coping strategies such as smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, and risky sexual activity.

Teenagers often experience violence in dating relationships.  More than 20% of all adolescents report having experienced either psychological or physical violence from an intimate partner – and underreporting remains a concern. Further, an estimated 302,100 women are raped each year in the U.S., of which more than half are under age 18 years.  Teen dating violence runs across race, gender, and socioeconomic lines however; African American youth are significantly more likely than Caucasian youth to report dating violence, including sexual assaults.

Research Behind the RAAPS Questions (Question #6)

RAAPS Question #6 Bullying

Bullying is unacceptable and preventable, yet it happens every day. Children and adolescents who are bullied are more likely than children who are not to be depressed, lonely, anxious, have low self-esteem, feel unwell, and think about suicide. Bullying also has a negative impact on other students at school who are bystanders to physical, verbal, and emotional violence.  Bullying creates a climate of fear and disrespect in schools and has a negative impact on student learning. Studies show that between 15-25% of students in the U.S. are bullied with some frequency, while 15-20% report that they bully peers with some frequency.

Prevention is the key to reducing incidents and managing behaviors before they escalate. Intervention strategies are crucial to keep the school environment safe for students, faculty, and visitors. Using a valid and youth friendly tool to identify children and adolescents being bullied is the first step in positively changing lives.

Research Behind the RAAPS Questions (Question #5)

RAAPS Question #5 Helmet Use

Biking, rollerblading, skateboarding, and riding scooters are all great ways for children and adolescents to get exercise. In order ride safely, they need to wear protective equipment, particularly helmets, but studies show that a majority of children and adolescents are not wearing helmets when engaging in these activities.  According to RAAPS data, 73.3% of youth reported riding, but only 13.8% of these riders reported always wearing a helmet.  Often, the reason given is that “helmets are not cool” or that they are “uncomfortable”. 

It has been estimated that a bicycle helmet could prevent 75% of fatal head injuries among child bicyclists. Other data estimates that the universal use of helmets by children ages 4 to 15 could prevent between 135 and 155 deaths, between 39,000 and 45,000 head injuries, and between 18,000 and 55,000 scalp and face injuries each year. In states that pass mandatory bicycle helmet laws for children ages 13 years and under, bicycle related fatalities decreased by 60% within five years.

Help children and adolescents understand the importance of wearing helmets.  To overcome some of the barriers to wearing helmets they should be fitted appropriately.  In addition, teens can add their own style to their helmet by decorating it with stickers and decals.