Joan A. Reid, PhD; Tara N. Richards, PhD; Thomas A. Loughran, PhD; Edward P. Mulvey, PhD
Disclosures: Authors have disclosed no conflicts of interest. Forms can be viewed at www.acponline.org/authors/icmje/ConflictOfInterestForms.do?msNum=M16-1648.
Editors' Disclosures: Christine Laine, MD, MPH, Editor in Chief, reports that she has no financial relationships or interests to disclose. Darren B. Taichman, MD, PhD, Executive Deputy Editor, reports that he has no financial relationships or interests to disclose. Cynthia D. Mulrow, MD, MSc, Senior Deputy Editor, reports that she has no relationships or interests to disclose. Deborah Cotton, MD, MPH, Deputy Editor, reports that she has no financial relationships or interest to disclose. Jaya K. Rao, MD, MHS, Deputy Editor, reports that she has stock holdings/options in Eli Lilly and Pfizer. Sankey V. Williams, MD, Deputy Editor, reports that he has no financial relationships or interests to disclose. Catharine B. Stack, PhD, MS, Deputy Editor for Statistics, reports that she has stock holdings in Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.
Reproducible Research Statement:Study protocol: Available from Dr. Reid (e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org). Statistical code: Not available. Data set: Available at www.pathwaysstudy.pitt.edu.
Requests for Single Reprints: Joan A. Reid, PhD, University of South Florida St. Petersburg, 140 Harborwalk Avenue South, DAV 266, St. Petersburg, FL 33701; e-mail, email@example.com.
Current Author Addresses: Dr. Reid: University of South Florida St. Petersburg, 140 Harborwalk Avenue South, DAV 266, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
Dr. Richards: School of Criminal Justice, University of Baltimore, 1420 North Charles Street, LAP519, Baltimore, MD 21201.
Dr. Loughran: Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Maryland, 2220 Samuel J. LeFrak Hall, 7251 Preinkert Drive, College Park, MD 20742.
Dr. Mulvey: Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 3811 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.
Author Contributions: Conception and design: J.A. Reid, T.N. Richards, T.A. Loughran, E.P. Mulvey.
Analysis and interpretation of the data: J.A. Reid, T.N. Richards, T.A. Loughran, E.P. Mulvey.
Drafting of the article: J.A. Reid, T.N. Richards, T.A. Loughran, E.P. Mulvey.
Critical revision of the article for important intellectual content: J.A. Reid, T.A. Loughran.
Final approval of the article: J.A. Reid, T.N. Richards, T.A. Loughran, E.P. Mulvey.
Statistical expertise: J.A. Reid, T.A. Loughran.
Collection and assembly of data: E.P. Mulvey.
Gun violence and psychological problems are often conflated in public discourse on gun safety. However, few studies have empirically assessed the effect of exposure to violence when exploring the association between gun carrying and psychological distress.
To examine the potential effect of exposure to violence on the associations between gun carrying and psychological distress among vulnerable adolescents.
Longitudinal cohort study.
The Pathways to Desistance study, a study of youths found guilty of a serious criminal offense in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, or Maricopa County, Arizona.
1170 male youths aged 14 to 19 years who had been found guilty of a serious criminal offense.
Youths were assessed at baseline and at four 6-month intervals with regard to gun carrying (“Have you carried a gun?”), psychological distress (Global Severity Index), and exposure to violence (modified version of the Exposure to Violence Inventory).
At the bivariate level, gun carrying was consistently associated with higher levels of psychological distress. However, the association between psychological distress and gun carrying diminished or disappeared when exposure to violence was considered. Exposure to violence (as either a victim or a witness) was significantly related to gun carrying at all follow-up assessments, with increased odds of gun carrying ranging from 1.43 to 1.87 with each additional report of exposure to violence.
The study sample was limited to justice-involved male youths. Precarrying distress and exposure to violence could not be fully captured because many participants had initiated gun carrying before baseline.
In male youths involved in the criminal justice system, the relationship between psychological distress and gun carrying seems to be influenced by exposure to violence (either experiencing or witnessing it). Further study is warranted to explore whether interventions after exposure to violence could reduce gun carrying in this population.
Table 1. Descriptive Statistics for the Sample at Baseline, by Study Site*
Table 2. Bivariate Analyses of Association Between Gun Carrying and Global Severity Index and Exposure to Violence Inventory Scores
Table 3. Summary of Binary Logistic Regression Analyses Predicting Gun Carrying at Each Follow-up Assessment*
Predictive probabilities of gun carrying based on high vs. low scores on the GSI, stratified by exposure to violence at each follow-up assessment.
Error bars represent 95% CIs. Control variables included study site, age, race/ethnicity, and proportion of time spent on the streets. GSI = Global Severity Index.
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Reid JA, Richards TN, Loughran TA, Mulvey EP. The Relationships Among Exposure to Violence, Psychological Distress, and Gun Carrying Among Male Adolescents Found Guilty of Serious Legal Offenses: A Longitudinal Cohort Study. Ann Intern Med. [Epub ahead of print 31 January 2017]166:412–418. doi: 10.7326/M16-1648
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2017;166(6):412-418.
Published at www.annals.org on 31 January 2017
Emergency Medicine, Tobacco, Alcohol, and Other Substance Abuse.
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