Carter, P. M., Zimmerman, M. A., & Cunningham, R. M. (2021). Addressing Key Gaps in Existing Longitudinal Research and Establishing a Pathway Forward for Firearm Violence Prevention Research. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 50(3), 367-384.
The main purpose of this article and this special section is to encourage greater attention to the key gaps that exist in our understanding of the epidemiology of adolescent firearm violence and to provide a pathway forward for future longitudinal research that will inform prevention efforts. This increased attention is especially salient given: (a) firearms are the leading cause of death for adolescents and emerging adults in the United States, with the majority of these deaths due to interpersonal violence; (b) significant health and social disparities with regards to the populations that are most affected by interpersonal firearm violence have been documented; and, (c) limitations in federal research funding during the past 30 years have created a deficit of knowledge about key risk and protective factors necessary to inform evidence-based prevention efforts. We discuss the implications of the articles in this special edition for existing and novel prevention programs. We also identify key considerations for future epidemiological research, including the need for a greater focus on collecting longitudinal data among nationally representative samples enriched with subgroups of at-risk youth, the need to examine the role of protective factors and mediating variables within existing and novel theoretical models of firearm risk behaviors, the need to examine key factors across all levels of the socio-ecological model, and the need to incorporate novel and innovative research designs, methods and analyses.