• Vol. 36 No. 3, 169–174
  • 15 March 2007

Violence-Related Behaviours among Malaysian Adolescents: A Cross Sectional Survey among Secondary School Students in Negeri Sembilan

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ABSTRACT

Introduction: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of violence-related behaviours among adolescents and the factors associated with it. Material and Methods: This was a cross-sectional school survey conducted on 4500 adolescent students, using a structured questionnaire. Data were collected using the supervised self-administered questionnaire [a modified version of the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance in the Malaysian National Language (Bahasa Malaysia)]. Results: Our study showed that 27.9% of students had been involved in a physical fight, 6.6% had been injured in a fight, 5.9% had carried a weapon, 7.2% had felt unsafe, 18.5% had had their money stolen and 55.0% had had their property stolen. Adolescents who carried weapons to school, smoked, used drugs, felt sad or hopeless and played truant were more likely to be involved in physical fights after adjusting for age, sex, and ethnicity. Conclusion: Violence-related behaviours among adolescents, especially involvement in physical fights, are common and are positively associated with certain factors such as smoking, taking drugs, playing truant, feeling sad or hopeless. Interventions designed at targeting adolescent violence should also address these factors and target the high-risk groups. There may be a need to identify and provide services for adolescents who exhibit these factors.


Adolescent violence is a serious social issue globally. Adolescent violence is also making its presence felt in Malaysia, as evidenced by newspaper reports. Violence can be defined in many ways and is a subset of aggressive behaviour. Some have suggested that aggression in childhood leads to violence in adolescent and adulthood.1 The World Health Organization (WHO) promotes a broad definition of violence:2 “The intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation”.

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