Correlates of Handgun Carrying Among Adolescents in the United States

Michael G. Vaughn, Brian E. Perron, Arnelyn Abdon, René Olate, Ralph Groom, Li Tzy Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Weapon-related violence, especially the use of handguns, among adolescents is a serious public health concern. Using public-use data file from the adolescent sample (N = 17,842) in the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), this study examines the behavioral, parental involvement, and prevention correlates of handgun carrying. Overall, 3.1% of adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 reported carrying a handgun in the past year. Results from a series of logistic regression models indicated that males, selling and using illicit drugs, were robustly associated with an increased probability of handgun carrying among adolescents. Furthermore, youth who carry handguns were significantly less likely to report a parent being involved in their lives and were significantly more likely to have encountered violence and drug prevention programming compared with youth who did not carry handguns. Implications of these results for prevention and policy are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2003-2021
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jul

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The authors are grateful for support from the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk, Institute on Educational Sciences grant (R324A100022) and NIH grants (AA019575, DA027503, DA019623, and DA019901).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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