During the past few decades, the health status of adolescents in this country has been declining. Major causes of morbidity and mortality during the second decade of life are behavioral and psychosocial rather than purely biomedical. Hence, the salient issues for adolescent health relate predominately to violence and injuries (intentional and unintentional), substance use, and the consequences of unprotected sexual activity: unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, including human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
Despite increased attention, violence continues to cause major health problems for adolescents. Several large-scale surveys of adolescents underscore the extent of violence and its impact on adolescents' emotional health. In a telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of children and adolescents aged 10 to 16 years, one fourth of respondents reported having experienced an assault or abuse (victimization) in the previous year.1 Victimization included assault by nonfamily or a family member, kidnapping, sexual
Wilson MD, Joffe A. Adolescent Medicine. JAMA. 1995;273(21):1657-1659. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520450027013