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Original Research

Rural youth and violence: a gender perspective

Submitted: 1 February 2011
Revised: 15 June 2011
Published: 8 August 2011

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Author(s) : Hall BL, Kulig J, Grant Kalischuk R.

Barry HallJudith KuligRuth Grant Kalischuk

Citation: Hall BL, Kulig J, Grant Kalischuk R.  Rural youth and violence: a gender perspective. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2011; 11: 1716. Available: (Accessed 23 October 2017)


Introduction:  The public health system must consider violence as an all too common reality in modern life. Violence can contribute to long-lasting negative consequences for individuals and communities. Research on violence has primarily focused on urban environments. Research examining youth violence within rural communities is limited. This is particularly the case for the links between gender and violence in small rural settings. The purpose of this study was to examine rural violence from a gender perspective by examining four variables: meaning, causes, consequences and solutions.
Methods:  A survey was completed in Central Alberta, Canada with 178 students from grades 6 to 12. The schools’ geographic locations represented two distinct economic settings: one natural resources and the other agriculture. The mean age of the participants was 16 years with 60% of the youth female and 40% male. The survey instrument was composed of demographic questions and 70 questions that focused on violence.
Results:  Violence was a concern for all youth, but there were gender differences. Females viewed the meaning of violence as having the intent to harm others and causes contributing to violence included television, movies, video games and the internet. Females were more concerned than males about the emotional consequences of violence. For solutions, females were more accepting of intrusive means to control violence such as increased security and stricter school rules, and involving non-peer helpers such as teachers and community based agencies as a means to help combat violence.
Conclusions:  The results of this study indicate that violence exists among rural youth and causes a great deal of concern.  In particular, the study underscores the fact that there are potential gender differences in relation to causes, meaning, impact and solutions to violence. All the youth believed that violence in their lives needs to be addressed and want to develop anti-violence strategies. Females in particular see the development of such programs including youth themselves and community partners.

Key words: gender, violence, youth.

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