Lee, D. B., Hsieh, H. F., Stoddard, S. A., Heinze, J. E., Carter, P. M., Goldstick, J. E., Cunningham, M.C., Cunningham, R.M., and Zimmerman, M.A. (2020). Longitudinal Pathway from Violence Exposure to Firearm Carriage Among Adolescents: The Role of Future Expectation. Journal of Adolescence, 81, 101-113.
Introduction: Exposure to violence is a risk factor for firearm carriage. Youth exposed to violence also have difficulty envisioning positive future outcomes (e.g., educational outcomes), which can increase the likelihood of firearm carriage over time. Researchers, however, have not yet examined whether changes in exposure to violence over time can influence the developmental trajectories of firearm carriage. To address this gap, we (1) examined the longitudinal association between exposure to violence and firearm carriage (grades 9 to 12) and then (2) examined whether changes in future expectations mediated this longitudinal association.
Method: The longitudinal association between exposure to violence and firearm carriage through future expectations was examined among 850 adolescents from the Flint Adolescent Study. Participants were recruited from four high schools in a midwestern city in the United States. Parallel latent growth models and latent growth mediation models were estimated.
Results: A positive association was observed between the rate of change in exposure to violence and firearm carriage. Exposure to violence also indirectly increased the risk for firearm carriage over time by decreasing future expectation in the 9th grade.
Conclusions: Our results support the idea that helping youth develop positive attitude about educational success may help reduce firearm carriage. Increasing positive expectations about future may help prevent firearm carriage within the context of violence exposure.