Childhood risk factors associated with adolescent gun carrying among Black and White males: An examination of self-protection, social influence, and antisocial propensity explanations.
ABSTRACT: Adolescent gun violence is a serious public health issue that disproportionately affects young Black males. Although it has been postulated that differential exposure to childhood risk factors might account for racial differences in adolescent gun carrying, no longitudinal studies have directly examined this issue. We examined whether childhood risk factors indexing neighborhood crime, peer delinquency, and conduct problems predicted the initiation of adolescent gun carrying among a community sample of Black and White boys. Analyses then examined whether racial differences in risk factors accounted for racial differences in gun carrying. Data came from a sample of 485 Black and White boys who were repeatedly assessed from 2nd grade until age 18. Multi-informant data collected across the first 3 years of the study were used to assess neighborhood crime, peer delinquency, and conduct problems. Illegal gun carrying was assessed annually from 5th grade through age 18. Growth curve analyses indicated that children with higher initial levels of conduct problems and delinquent peer involvement, as well as those who increased in conduct problems across childhood, were more likely to carry a gun prior to age 18. Black boys were also more likely to carry guns than Whites. Racial differences were greatly reduced, but not eliminated, after controlling for initial levels of conduct problems and delinquent peer involvement. Findings suggest that early prevention programs designed to reduce adolescent gun violence (including racial disparities in gun violence) should target boys with severe conduct problems and those who affiliate with delinquent peers during elementary school. (PsycINFO Database Record
Project description:OBJECTIVES:To examine the association between parental disengagement in childhood and adolescent gun carrying and determine whether this association is accounted for by externalizing problems and affiliation with delinquent peers during early adolescence. METHODS:The sample included 503 boys (55.7% African American, 40.6% white, 3.7% other) recruited from first-grade classrooms in Pittsburgh public schools. Multi-informant assessments were conducted regularly (semiannually then annually) from approximately ages 7.5 to 20 years. Latent factors were constructed by using parent-reported parental disengagement (ie, poor parental involvement, poor parent-son communication, poor parent-son relationship quality) collected from ages 7.5 to 10 years, youth-reported peer delinquency from ages 10.5 to 13 years, and teacher-reported externalizing problems from ages 10.5 to 13 years. The outcome was youth-reported gun carrying from ages 14 to 20 years. RESULTS:Twenty percent of individuals sampled reported carrying a gun during adolescence. Childhood parental disengagement was significantly associated with adolescent gun carrying (? = .22; 95% confidence interval: 0.08 to 0.36). Furthermore, the association between parental disengagement and gun carrying was partially mediated through peer delinquency and externalizing problems during early adolescence. The 2 indirect paths accounted for ?29% of the total effect of parental disengagement. CONCLUSIONS:Boys exposed to poorer parental engagement during childhood are more likely to affiliate with delinquent peers and exhibit externalizing problems during early adolescence, which (in turn) increases their risk of carrying a firearm in later adolescence. This suggests that gun violence prevention efforts with children should work to enhance aspects of parental engagement.
Project description:Longitudinal studies have found that male adolescents who deal drugs, associate with delinquent peers, and engage in aggressive behavior are at increased risk for carrying a gun (between-individual risks). However, it is unclear whether changes in these risk factors help to explain fluctuations in youth gun carrying across adolescence (within-individual risks). The current study examined this issue using a community sample of 970 adolescent males (58% Black, 42% White) assessed annually from ages 14 to 18. Multilevel models examined the extent to which between-individual differences and within-individual changes in drug dealing, peer delinquency, aggressive behavior, and neighborhood disadvantage were associated with gun carrying across adolescence. Each of these predictors, except for disadvantage, exerted a between-individual and within-individual influence for Black youth. For White youth, drug dealing was significant on both levels, peer delinquency was a significant between-individual predictor, and aggression was a significant within-individual predictor. Neighborhood disadvantage did not significantly predict gun carrying in the model, on either the between- or within-individual level, for Black or White youth. These results stress the importance of examining race-specific predictors of gun carrying among Black and White adolescents and point to drug dealing as a robust predictor of gun carrying, at both the between-individual and within-individual levels for youth of either race. Efforts to prevent drug market involvement and reduce aggressive behaviors in adolescence may in turn prove useful for preventing firearm violence. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
Project description:Researchers have examined selection and influence processes in shaping delinquency similarity among friends, but little is known about the role of gender in moderating these relationships. Our objective is to examine differences between adolescent boys and girls regarding delinquency-based selection and influence processes. Using longitudinal network data from adolescents attending two large schools in AddHealth (N = 1,857) and stochastic actor-oriented models, we evaluate whether girls are influenced to a greater degree by friends' violence or delinquency than boys (influence hypothesis) and whether girls are more likely to select friends based on violent or delinquent behavior than boys (selection hypothesis). The results indicate that girls are more likely than boys to be influenced by their friends' involvement in violence. Although a similar pattern emerges for nonviolent delinquency, the gender differences are not significant. Some evidence shows that boys are influenced toward increasing their violence or delinquency when exposed to more delinquent or violent friends but are immune to reducing their violence or delinquency when associating with less violent or delinquent friends. In terms of selection dynamics, although both boys and girls have a tendency to select friends based on friends' behavior, girls have a stronger tendency to do so, suggesting that among girls, friends' involvement in violence or delinquency is an especially decisive factor for determining friendship ties.
Project description:Social learning theories assume that delinquent peer norms and/or peer pressure are the components of delinquent peer socialization that lead to subsequent adolescent delinquency. However, these specific peer influences are rarely investigated. Moreover, social learning theories such as coercion theory posit that parenting behaviors also play an important role in the development or prevention of delinquency. However, surprisingly, little research has investigated whether parent behaviors could moderate the link between the above-described peer influences and adolescent delinquency. Hence, using structural equation modeling, the current 1-year longitudinal study investigated these questions among ethnically-diverse Dutch adolescents (N = 602; M age = 13.50; 46.42% female at baseline), who were mostly between12 and 15 years old. Additionally, using multi-group models, and a stringent p-value of p < 0.01, we explored whether gender and adolescent phase (i.e., early versus middle adolescence) further moderated these links. The majority of the analyses, resulted in non-significant findings. Specifically, in our non-multi group model, we found no significant peer, and family effects for the entire sample. However, for our multi-group models, we found that higher levels of negative mother-adolescent relationship quality exacerbated the link between peer pressure and subsequent early adolescent boys' delinquency 1 year later, while low levels of mother-adolescent negative relationship quality reversed the association. That is, low levels of mother-adolescent negative relationship quality attenuated the link from higher levels of peer pressure to higher levels of delinquency, but only in early adolescent boys. These findings existed above and beyond significant links from prior adolescent delinquency (T1) to future adolescent delinquency (T2). To conclude, although this was not the case for most adolescents, for early adolescent boys fewer negative interactions between mother and adolescents at an earlier time point (in advance) could potentially curtail the negative effects that delinquent peer pressure has on delinquency in the future. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Improving the health and development of adolescents aged 10-19?years is a global health priority. One in five adolescents globally live in India. The Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK), India's national adolescent health strategy, recommends supporting community-based peer educators to conduct group meetings with boys and girls. Groups aim to give adolescents a space to discuss the social and health issues affecting them and build their capacity to become active community members and leaders. There have been no evaluations of the community component of RKSK to date. In this protocol, we describe the evaluation of the Jharkhand Initiative for Adolescent Health (JIAH), a community intervention aligned with RKSK and designed to improve school attendance, dietary diversity and mental health among adolescent girls aged 10-19 years in rural Jharkhand, eastern India. METHODS:The JIAH intervention is delivered by a community youth team consisting of yuva saathis (friends of youth), youth leadership facilitators and livelihood promoters. Teams conduct (a) peer-led Participatory Learning and Action meetings with girls and boys, mobilising adolescents, parents, health workers, teachers and the wider community to make changes for adolescent health and development; (b) group-based youth leadership activities to build adolescents' confidence and resilience; and (c) livelihood promotion with adolescents and their families to provide training and practical skills. We are evaluating the JIAH intervention through a parallel-group, two-arm, superiority, cluster-randomised controlled trial. The unit of randomisation is a geographic cluster of ~1000 people. A total of 38 clusters covering an estimated population of 40,676 have been randomised to control or intervention arms. Nineteen intervention clusters have adolescent groups, youth leadership activities and livelihood promotion. Nineteen control clusters receive livelihood promotion only. Study participants are adolescent girls aged 10-19?years, married or unmarried, in or out of school, living in the study area. Intervention activities are open to all adolescent boys and girls, regardless of their participation in surveys. We will collect data through baseline and endline surveys. Primary trial outcomes are school attendance, dietary diversity and internalising and externalising mental health problems. Secondary outcomes include access to school-related entitlements, emotional or physical violence, self-efficacy and resilience. TRIAL REGISTRATION:ISRCTN17206016. Registered on 27 June 2018.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:The USA has the highest rate of community gun violence of any developed democracy. There is an urgent need to develop feasible, scalable and community-led interventions that mitigate incident gun violence and its associated health impacts. Our community-academic research team received National Institutes of Health funding to design a community-led intervention that mitigates the health impacts of living in communities with high rates of gun violence. METHODS AND ANALYSIS:We adapted 'Building Resilience to Disasters', a conceptual framework for natural disaster preparedness, to guide actions of multiple sectors and the broader community to respond to the man-made disaster of gun violence. Using this framework, we will identify existing community assets to be building blocks of future community-led interventions. To identify existing community assets, we will conduct social network and spatial analyses of the gun violence episodes in our community and use these analyses to identify people and neighbourhood blocks that have been successful in avoiding gun violence. We will conduct qualitative interviews among a sample of individuals in the network that have avoided violence (n=45) and those living or working on blocks that have not been a location of victimisation (n=45) to identify existing assets. Lastly, we will use community-based system dynamics modelling processes to create a computer simulation of the community-level contributors and mitigators of the effects of gun violence that incorporates local population-based based data for calibration. We will engage a multistakeholder group and use themes from the qualitative interviews and the computer simulation to identify feasible community-led interventions. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION:The Human Investigation Committee at Yale University School of Medicine (#2000022360) granted study approval. We will disseminate study findings through peer-reviewed publications and academic and community presentations. The qualitative interview guides, system dynamics model and group model building scripts will be shared broadly.
Project description:<b>Background: </b>The United States is experiencing a continuing crisis of gun violence, and economically marginalized and racially segregated inner-city areas are among the most affected. To decrease this violence, public health interventions must engage with the complex social factors and structural drivers-especially with regard to the clandestine sale of narcotics-that have turned the neighborhood streets of specific vulnerable subgroups into concrete killing fields. Here we present a mixed-methods ethnographic and epidemiological assessment of narcotics-driven firearm violence in Philadelphia's impoverished, majority Puerto Rican neighborhoods.<br><br><b>Methods: </b>Using an exploratory sequential study design, we formulated hypotheses about ethnic/racial vulnerability to violence, based on half a dozen years of intensive participant-observation ethnographic fieldwork. We subsequently tested them statistically, by combining geo-referenced incidents of narcotics- and firearm-related crime from the Philadelphia police department with census information representing race and poverty levels. We explored the racialized relationships between poverty, narcotics, and violence, melding ethnography, graphing, and Poisson regression.<br><br><b>Findings: </b>Even controlling for poverty levels, impoverished majority-Puerto Rican areas in Philadelphia are exposed to significantly higher levels of gun violence than majority-white or black neighborhoods. Our mixed methods data suggest that this reflects the unique social position of these neighborhoods as a racial meeting ground in deeply segregated Philadelphia, which has converted them into a retail endpoint for the sale of astronomical levels of narcotics.<br><br><b>Implications: </b>We document racial/ethnic and economic disparities in exposure to firearm violence and contextualize them ethnographically in the lived experience of community members. The exceptionally concentrated and high-volume retail narcotics trade, and the violence it generates in Philadelphia's poor Puerto Rican neighborhoods, reflect unique structural vulnerability and cultural factors. For most young people in these areas, the narcotics economy is the most readily accessible form of employment and social mobility. The performance of violence is an implicit part of survival in these lucrative, illegal narcotics markets, as well as in the overcrowded jails and prisons through which entry-level sellers cycle chronically. To address the structural drivers of violence, an inner-city Marshall Plan is needed that should include well-funded formal employment programs, gun control, re-training police officers to curb the routinization of brutality, reform of criminal justice to prioritize rehabilitation over punishment, and decriminalization of narcotics possession and low-level sales.
Project description:Genetic predisposition and environmental influences are both important factors in the development of problematic behavior leading to substance use in adolescence. Involvement with delinquent peers also strongly predicts adolescent externalizing behavior. Several lines of evidence support a role of GABRA2 on externalizing behavior related to disinhibition. However, whether this genetic association is influenced by the environment such as peer behavior remains unknown.We examined the moderating role of GABRA2 genetic variation on the socialization model of delinquent peer affiliation (at ages 12-14 years) on externalizing behavior (at ages 15-17 years) in the Michigan Longitudinal Study (MLS) adolescent sample. The sample consisted of 244 adolescents (75 females and 152 with at least one parent with a DSM-IV lifetime alcohol dependence/abuse diagnosis). Peer delinquent activity reported by the participant and teacher-reported adolescent externalizing behavior (Teacher Report Form (TRF) were assessed.No main effect of the GABRA2 SNP rs279826, which tags a large haplotype, on externalizing behavior was observed. However, there was a statistically reliable GABRA2 × peer delinquency interaction. The effect of peer delinquent involvement on externalizing scores and the rule breaking subscale is significantly stronger for those with the GG genotype compared to A-carriers, whereas there was no effect of genotype on externalizing in the absence of peer delinquent involvement. No interaction was observed for the aggression subscale.Our results suggest that the genetic effect of GABRA2 on externalizing behavior, more specifically on rule breaking is, at least in part, due to its effect on susceptibility to environmental exposure (i.e., peer delinquency).
Project description:Proactive policing, the strategic targeting of people or places to prevent crimes, is a well-studied tactic that is ubiquitous in modern law enforcement. A 2017 National Academies of Sciences report reviewed existing literature, entrenched in deterrence theory, and found evidence that proactive policing strategies can reduce crime. The existing literature, however, does not explore what the short and long-term effects of police contact are for young people who are subjected to high rates of contact with law enforcement as a result of proactive policing. Using four waves of longitudinal survey data from a sample of predominantly black and Latino boys in ninth and tenth grades, we find that adolescent boys who are stopped by police report more frequent engagement in delinquent behavior 6, 12, and 18 months later, independent of prior delinquency, a finding that is consistent with labeling and life course theories. We also find that psychological distress partially mediates this relationship, consistent with the often stated, but rarely measured, mechanism for adolescent criminality hypothesized by general strain theory. These findings advance the scientific understanding of crime and adolescent development while also raising policy questions about the efficacy of routine police stops of black and Latino youth. Police stops predict decrements in adolescents' psychological well-being and may unintentionally increase their engagement in criminal behavior.
Project description:There is a documented link between common psychiatric disorders and substance use in adolescent males. This study addressed two key questions: (1) is there a within-person association between an increase in psychiatric problems and an increase in substance use among adolescent males and (2) are there sensitive periods during male adolescence when such associations are more evident?Analysis of longitudinal data collected annually on boys selected randomly from schools based on a comprehensive public school enrollment list from the Pittsburgh Board of Education.Recruitment occurred in public schools in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.A total of 503 boys assessed at ages 13-19 years, average cooperation rate = 92.1%.Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM)-oriented affective, anxiety and conduct disorder problems were measured with items from the caregiver, teacher and youth version of the Achenbach scales. Scales were converted to t-scores using age- and gender-based national norms and combined by taking the average across informants. Alcohol and marijuana use were assessed semi-annually by a 16-item Substance Use Scale adapted from the National Youth Survey.When male adolescents experienced a 1-unit increase in their conduct problems t-score, their rate of marijuana use subsequently increased by 1.03 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.01, 1.05], and alcohol quantity increased by 1.01 (95% CI = 1.0002, 1.02). When adolescents experienced a 1-unit increase in their average quantity of alcohol use, their anxiety problems t-score subsequently increased by 0.12 (95% CI = 0.05, 0.19). These associations were strongest in early and late adolescence.When adolescent boys experience an increase in conduct disorder problems, they are more likely to exhibit a subsequent escalation in substance use. As adolescent boys increase their intensity of alcohol use, they become more likely to develop subsequent anxiety problems. Developmental turning points such as early and late adolescence appear to be particularly sensitive periods for boys to develop comorbid patterns of psychiatric problems and substance use.