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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 96, Issue 5, pp 357–359 | Cite as

Rural Youth Violence

It Is a Public Health Concern!
  • Judith C. Kulig
  • Deana Nahachewsky
  • Barry L. Hall
  • Ruth Grant Kalischuk
Commentary

Abstract

Youth violence is a significant issue for public health because of the potential for longterm impacts on individuals, families and communities. Limited exposure to violence is seen as a component of healthy living. However, there is limited understanding of violence from a public health perspective within rural communities. Rural refers to those communities with a population less than 10,000 outside the main commuting zone of a large urban area. Population health approaches, including the social determinants of health, are well supported by public health officials. Generating information about rural youth violence from a Canadian perspective would add to our understanding of these social determinants while providing guidance for policy and program development. Current understandings of youth violence are limited to an urban, and oftentimes, American perspective. An ongoing two-phase Canadian study on rural youth violence included qualitative interviews with 52 youth and the completion of a questionnaire that had been developed from the qualitative responses. The questionnaire has been completed by a larger sample of rural youth. The findings generated from this ongoing study will be useful in linking violence with social factors that impact health and thereby guide population health programs and policies. In this way, the role of public health to develop policies and implement programs will be directly influenced by evidence while addressing an ongoing public health concern.

MeSH terms

Rural communities youth violence public health 

Résumé

La violence des jeunes est un important problème de santé publique, car elle peut avoir des effets à long terme sur les particuliers, les familles et les collectivités. Une faible exposition à la violence est considérée comme l’un des éléments d’un mode de vie sain. Cependant, on a peu étudié la violence selon une perspective de santé publique dans les collectivités rurales, c’est-à-dire les collectivités de moins de 10 000 habitants à l’extérieur de la principale zone de navettage d’un grand centre urbain. Les approches axées sur la santé de la population, y compris les déterminants sociaux de la santé, sont bien acceptées par les autorités de santé publique. Des données sur la violence des jeunes en milieu rural selon une perspective canadienne nous permettraient de mieux comprendre ces déterminants sociaux et nous aideraient à orienter l’élaboration des politiques et des programmes. Nos connaissances actuelles sur la violence des jeunes se limitent au milieu urbain et portent le plus souvent sur les États-Unis. On mène actuellement une étude canadienne en deux phases sur la violence des jeunes en milieu rural. Cette étude comprend des entretiens en profondeur avec 52 jeunes et un questionnaire élaboré à partir de leurs réponses qualitatives. Le questionnaire a été rempli par un échantillon plus vaste de jeunes des milieux ruraux. Les constatations de cette étude seront utiles pour établir des liens entre la violence et les facteurs sociaux qui influent sur la santé, et donc pour orienter les programmes et les politiques en santé de la population. Ainsi, les responsables de l’élaboration des politiques et de la mise en ouvre des programmes en santé publique pourront s’appuyer directement sur des données probantes lorsqu’ils se pencheront sur ce problème de santé publique persistant.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judith C. Kulig
    • 1
  • Deana Nahachewsky
    • 2
  • Barry L. Hall
    • 3
  • Ruth Grant Kalischuk
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Health SciencesUniversity of LethbridgeLethbridgeCanada
  2. 2.University of LethbridgeCanada
  3. 3.Lethbridge DivisionFaculty of Social Work, University of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  4. 4.School of Health SciencesUniversity of LethbridgeCanada

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