Objective: Gun violence is a serious public health concern, yet risk factors for gun violence involvement remain understudied. Childhood trauma exposure, such as domestic violence (DV) and community violence (CV), may increase the risk for aggression, although this relationship has not been examined in the context of gun violence. The aim of the current study was to investigate whether different childhood trauma ecologies are related to increased gun violence involvement and gun violence risk factors among individuals hospitalized for a gun injury.
Method: Seventy-two gun violence victims reported on their gun violence involvement and gun violence risk factors (e.g., gun ownership, gun carrying, gun arrests, impulsivity, perceptions regarding violence) at hospital bedside.
Results: Childhood DV and CV exposure were both associated with increased gun violence involvement as well as numerous gun violence risk factors. Effect sizes were generally medium to large (M d = .53).
Conclusion: Childhood traumatic events, such as DV and CV, may be important antecedent risk factors for gun violence.