Sokol RL, Haasz M, Zimmerman MA, Cunningham RM, Carter PM. The association between witnessing firearm violence and firearm carriage: Results from a national study of teens. Prev Med. 2023;171:107516. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2023.107516.
The association between witnessing firearm-involved violence and firearm carriage among teens, independent of non-firearm involved violence, has yet to be identified. The present analyses estimate associations of witnessing firearm-involved violence and non-firearm involved violence with firearm carriage in a nationally representative sample of teens. Data are from the FACTS National Survey-a cross-sectional web-based survey of 2140 US teenagers (ages 14-18) fielded in June-July 2020. The team first estimated the correlation between witnessing firearm-involved and non-firearm involved violence. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression then assessed the associations of witnessing firearm-involved and non-firearm involved violence with firearm carriage. The team pooled results over fifteen imputed datasets to account for missing data, and analyses incorporated survey weights to create nationally representative estimates. The correlation between witnessing firearm-involved and non-firearm involved violence was low (ϕ = 0.19[0.15, 0.23]). Witnessing firearm-involved violence and witnessing non-firearm involved violence were both associated with teen firearm carriage in bivariate models (OR: 3.55[1.86, 6.79]; 4.51[1.75, 11.6]). These associations persisted in the multivariable model that adjusted for violence victimization, demographic characteristics, and both witnessing firearm-involved and non-firearm involved violence (aOR for witnessing firearm-involved violence = 3.67[1.77, 7.59]; aOR for witnessing non-firearm involved violence = 4.30[1.56, 11.9]). We found no difference in the strength of these associations (Wald χ2(df = 1) = 0.25, p = 0.80). Results suggest that witnessing firearm-involved and non-firearm involved violence are uniquely associated with teens’ firearm carriage. Identifying means to reduce both exposures, in addition to recognizing factors that may weaken the associations between witnessing different types of violence and firearm carriage, may disrupt cycles of violence.
Keywords: Firearms, nationally representative, risk factors, violence, youth