Preliminary findings on the links between violence, crime, and HIV risk among young adults with substance use disorders in El Salvador

Christopher P. Salas-Wright, René Olate, Michael G. Vaughn

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3 Citations (Scopus)


The links between substance use and violence, crime, and HIV risk behavior have been well-documented among individuals in developed nations. However, it remains uncertain how, and to what degree, such behaviors are related in the severe socio-environmental context of marginalized communities in developing nations like El Salvador. Using data from a sample of young adult men (n = 177; ages 18-26) residing in marginalized communities in San Salvador, El Salvador (June-November 2011), we conducted Chi-square tests of association and two group mean comparison tests to examine the bivariate associations between substance use disorders (SUDs) and violence, crime, and HIV risk behavior. Results indicate that individuals meeting criteria for SUDs are approximately two to three times more likely than those not meeting criteria to report recent involvement in all violent and criminal outcomes examined in this study. Particularly robust effects were identified in terms of carrying a hidden weapon (χ2= 26.98, p < 0.001, φ= 0.390) and attacking someone with a weapon or with the idea of seriously hurting/killing them (χ2= 17.80, p < 0.001, φ = 0.317). Overall, findings suggest that SUDs are strongly associated with violence, crime, and HIV risk behavior within El Salvadors marginalized communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-40
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Substance Use
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 2


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)

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