Cradle to Grave (C2G), a hospital-based violence prevention programme, brings inner-city youth into an urban Level I trauma centre to follow the path of an adolescent gunshot victim from trauma bay to morgue. We hypothesised that C2G alters student attitudes towards gun violence.
Eighty-eight adolescents were prospectively enrolled. With parental and student consent, students completed the Attitudes Towards Guns and Violence Questionnaire (AGVQ), a previously validated and reliable social science assessment tool. Two weeks later, the students participated in C2G. The survey was re-administered four weeks after C2G participation. AGVQ results are reported both as a total score and as a breakdown of the four component subscales. Higher AGVQ scores indicate proclivity towards violence. ANOVA compared scores with respect to demographics and type of school (public vs. charter).
C2G altered student’s attitudes towards guns and violence. Of 43 public school students, total scores decreased following C2G (p = 0.02). The greatest attitudinal change occurred in subscale 1, “Aggressive Response to Shame” (p < 0.01). C2G failed to produce significant changes AGVQ scores in the 45 students attending a city charter school. The two groups were found to have baseline differences, with public school students showing higher baseline tendencies towards violence.
Our hospital-based programme is capable of positively impacting adolescents’ attitudes towards guns and violence. This effect is most pronounced in subjects who already display increased tendencies towards violence. These results suggest that hospitals offer a unique opportunity to address the public health crisis posed by inner-city firearm violence.