Perceptions and Experiences of Physical Violence Among Public Secondary School Students in Lagos State
Keywords:Bullying, Gang, Physical fights, Secondary school, Violence, Youth violence
Background: Physical violence (PV) in secondary schools is an apparent challenge that requires urgent attention because of its adverse outcomes. It has led to the destruction of school properties and disruption of teaching and learning, thus resulting in poor academic grades and even death.
Objectives: To assess the perceptions and experiences of physical violence among selected senior secondary students in Lagos State.
Methods: The study utilised a cross-sectional design with a multistage sampling technique to recruit respondents from four secondary schools in Lagos State. Data were collected using a self-administered questionnaire adapted from the Global School Health Survey and the Youth Risk Behaviour Survey (GSHS, 2004).
Results: Majority (82.7%) of the respondents had correct knowledge of the health consequences of youth violence, and 78.3% knew that both victims and perpetrators are at risk of injury or death. About 62.5% agreed that youth violence is an essential issue in adolescence, and 85.2% favoured administrative sanctions against offenders. Violent acts such as physical attacks were experienced by 40.7%, while 42.2% and 7.7% experienced physical fights and belonged to a school gang. Involvement in a physical fight was significantly associated with belonging to a school gang (p<0.001) and being a victim of bullying (p<0.001).
Conclusion: Physical violence is a common behaviour among senior secondary school students. Belonging to a gang and being a victim of bullying was associated with physical violence. Targeted education on avoiding physical violence and risky behaviours is recommended in schools.
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