Relationships Between Mental Health, Skill Sets, and Violence Perpetration Among Adolescent Girls

Calae D. Philippe, Kari Gloppen, Renee E. Sieving, Iris W. Borowsky, Sandra L. Pettingell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines relationships between emotional health, stress management skills, fight-avoidance skills, and two forms of violence perpetration among adolescent girls at high risk for violence involvement. Participants (n = 253) were 13- to 17-year-old girls enrolled in a randomized controlled trial. The current study was completed with baseline data collected prior to the start of the intervention. Analyses examined self-report outcome measures of physical violence perpetration in the past 6 months (five-item scale, α =.79) and relational aggression perpetration in the past 30 days (six-item scale, α =.77). Independent variables included baseline measures of self-esteem (four-item scale, α =.89), emotional distress (six-item scale, α =.89), stress management skills (eight-item scale, α =.86), and fight avoidance skills (five-item scale, α =.70). Multivariate regression models predicted each form of violence perpetration controlling for age, race/ethnicity, violence victimization, and clustering of participants within clinics. Initial bivariate results showed that stress management skills and fight avoidance skills were inversely and significantly related to perpetration of both relational and physical violence. Emotional distress was related to significantly higher levels of both violence outcomes. In contrast, self-esteem was not significantly related to either violence outcome. Multivariate analyses revealed that stress management skills and fight avoidance skills were significantly protective against perpetration of both relational aggression and physical violence. In conclusion, findings suggest that clinicians providing services to adolescent girls involved in high risk behaviors assess and foster girls’ development of stress management and fight avoidance skills to help reduce their risk of involvement in relational violence and physical fighting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1801-1819
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2019


  • bullying
  • mental health and violence
  • violence exposure
  • youth violence

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

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