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J Adolesc Health. 1995 Dec;17(6):376-80.

The association between weapon carrying and the use of violence among adolescents living in and around public housing.

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Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine, Children's Hospital, Boston, MA 02119, USA.



To test the hypothesis that adolescents who carry lethal weapons are more likely to engage in violent behavior than adolescents who do not carry weapons.


Cross-sectional Survey.


Black adolescents (N = 225) from a lower socioeconomic (SES) background living in or around nine Housing and Urban Development housing projects.


An anonymous questionnaire containing scales from the CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey and Self-Reported Delinquency Questionnaire was administered. Data were analyzed with Spearman rho correlation coefficients (r), followed by partial correlation coefficients controlling for age and gender.


Thirty-five percent of males and 16% of females reported carrying a weapon during the previous 30 days. Frequency of weapon-carrying was correlated (r = .33, p < or = 0.0001). with the frequency of physical fights in the last month, but the relationship was stronger among males than females. Weapon-carrying was also associated (r = .20, p < or = 0.003) with frequency of receiving a serious injury during a fight and the frequency of attacking someone with a weapon with the idea of seriously hurting or killing them (r = .48, p < or = 0.0001). Although males were more likely to carry a hidden weapon than females, the frequency of weapon-carrying was more highly correlated with the frequency of carrying a hidden weapon by females (r = .63, p < or = 0.0001) than males (r = .49, p < or = 0.0001). Females who carried weapons were more likely than males to be involved in gang fights. Among males (r = .27, p < or = 0.008), frequency of weapon-carrying was correlated with frequency of attacking someone with whom they lived. This was not so among females (r = .02).


These data support the hypothesis that the lower SES black adolescents in this sample who carried weapons were more likely to engage in violent behaviors than those who did not carry weapons.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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