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Armstrong -

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Surgery Open Science



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Youth are tragically affected by violence. Justice-involved youth are at elevated risk for the effects of violence, as incarceration serves as a risk factor. The objective of this study is to explore the risks and needs of justice-involved youth and identify channels for future hospital-based programming.


Four weekly focus groups were conducted by a credible messenger at the Douglas County Youth Center with former participants of Dusk 2 Dawn, a youth violence prevention program delivered at the Douglas County Youth Center. Eight participants were prompted with preset interview questions. All focus groups were recorded and transcribed by a professional transcription service. A thematic analysis was performed by 2 independent coders to identify themes using Dedoose software.


The 3 most frequently occurring themes involved topics on protection, identified 40 times; family, identified 36 times; and the challenge of overcoming violence, identified 31 times. These themes often overlapped with one another, demonstrating the complexity of youth violence.


Providing a safe and judgement-free space for the youth to discuss issues of violence was beneficial for 3 reasons: (1) inclusion of youth perspectives allows violence prevention programs to be tailored to specific needs, (2) participants were able to deeply reflect on violence in their own lives and consider steps toward positive change, and (3) open communication encourages trust building and collaborative prevention efforts between the hospital and community.


This is an Open Access article licensed under Creative Commons NonCommercial NoDerivatives 4.0

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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