High School Youths, Weapons, and Violence: A National Survey   [open pdf - 58KB]

"Recent shootings by students of peers and teachers in school settings, where such events were markedly unexpected, have provoked fear and outrage in America. For many, the 'youth-gun problem' seems to be spreading beyond inner cities to suburbs and small towns and from 'bad boy' cultures (i.e., those characterized by relatively high poverty, crime, unemployment, and school dropout rates) to 'good boy' cultures (characterized by fewer such social ills). Yet, generalizable and systematic knowledge about gun-related violence among youths is relatively scarce. Most national studies to date have asked only the broadest questions about weapon-related behavior. Studies using more select samples have provided more information but, in turn, have been hampered by questions of generalizability. The most detailed studies available,1 for example, are based on samples of the most serious confined offenders and recently arrested youths (hardly populations from which to generalize) and students from inner-city schools previously identified as having gun-related problems (rendering questionable the extent to which the results pertain to other students, whether from the suburbs or inner cities). This Research in Brief examines the extent to which a national sample of male high school sophomores and juniors was involved in, or otherwise affected by, firearm-related activity. Data were gathered by means of a survey mailed to high school students. It sought information on their firearm- and crime-related activities for the 12 months prior to the survey as well as social, demographic, and personal information for each respondent. (The survey contents and goals are described more fully in 'The Tulane University National Youth Study, see page 4.') Despite what is likely a partial 'good boy' bias in the sample (see Methodology), the present study is the first to pose reasonably indepth questions to youths from a broad range of social and geographic environments about exposure to weapons."

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National Criminal Justice Reference Center: https://www.ncjrs.gov/
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