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Guns and Dolls: An Exploration of Violent Behavior in Girls

DiNapoli, Pamela P. RN, PhD


As demonstrated by several studies, there is an increase in levels of female violence. This study attempts to more fully understand the increasing phenomenon of violence in girls by exploring motivations to engage in violent behavior. The hypothesis that a girl's perceived sense of competence is influenced by social and environmental variables that motivate her to engage in violent behavior is tested. Research studies of female adolescent violence have focused on the study of risk factors predisposing the individual to violent behavior. This study uses a health behavior framework (C.L. Cox, Advances in Nursing Science, October 1982, 41--56) to explore the links between perceived sense of competence and both the risk and protective factors that motivate girls to act violently.

Department of Nursing, School of Health of an Human Services, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH.

Corresponding author: Pamela P. DiNapoli, RN, PhD, the Department of Nursing, School of Health and Human Services, University of New Hampshire, 247 Hewitt Hall, Durham, NH 03824 (e-mail:

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.