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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


ASSIS, Simone G. et al. Violence and social representation in teenagers in Brazil. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2004, vol.16, n.1, pp.43-51. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association between the self-representation of teenagers and the severe physical, psychological, and sexual violence inflicted on them by close family relations, especially their parents, and to analyze the association between victimization in the family and victimization in other social spaces. METHOD: An epidemiological survey was carried out in 2002 with 1 685 adolescents chosen at random from public and private schools in the municipality of São Gonçalo, which is in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. To measure each form of violence, we used scales of tactics for dealing with conflict, of child abuse and trauma, and of psychological violence. RESULTS: We found that 14.6% of the students had been physically abused by the father or the mother and that 11.8% had witnessed sexual abuse of another family member or they themselves had been sexually abused. In addition, 48.0% of the students reported having been psychologically abused by a close relation. In comparison to students who had not been abused, the victims of family abuse were more often also victims of community and school violence, and they also more frequently reported having broken the law. Overall, the adolescents surveyed had a positive self-representation, but the adolescents who had been abused mentioned negative self-attributes more frequently than did the teenagers who had not been abused. CONCLUSIONS: The predominantly positive social representation of teenagers must be supported by health promotion initiatives. The finding of an association between indices of violence and the teenager's various spheres of action indicates that resolving this problem will require strategies that target all these spheres.

Keywords : Auto-imagem; violência doméstica; violência [psicologia].

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