Correlates of gun violence by criminal justice-involved adolescents

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Correlates of gun violence by criminal justice-involved adolescents

Category: Crime, Firearm Availability|Journal: Law and Human Behavior (full text)|Author: D McNeil, L Gonzales|Year: 2019


This study presents a prospective evaluation of the contribution of criminogenic factors, psychiatric symptomatology, and neighborhood-level factors to risk for self-reported gun violence by adolescents with criminal justice involvement.


We hypothesized that elevated psychiatric symptom clusters would be associated with increased risk for gun violence after accounting for criminogenic factors and that neighborhood contextual variables would contribute independently to gun violence risk controlling for criminogenic and psychiatric factors.


Data were drawn from the Pathways to Desistance study (Mulvey et al., 2004), a previously collected, longitudinal evaluation of 1,354 adolescents with felony or weapons-based misdemeanor convictions. Participants were located in Arizona and Pennsylvania and aged 14–18 at baseline. The majority identified as male (86.4%) and Black (41.4%) or Hispanic (33.5%). Participants completed interviews at baseline and follow-up over 7 years. This study drew indicators of criminogenic factors, psychiatric factors, ratings of neighborhood context, and self-reported offending. We used discrete time survival analysis to prospectively evaluate the contribution of independent variables to time to gun violence.


The presence of self-reported threat control override symptoms represented a 56% increase in risk controlling for demographic and criminogenic factors, odds ratio = 1.56, 95% confidence interval [1.11, 2.18]. Ratings of higher neighborhood gun accessibility represented almost 2.5 times increased risk for self-reported gun violence controlling for demographic, criminogenic, and psychiatric factors, odds ratio = 2.48, 95% confidence interval [1.60, 3.85]. Conclusions: Results suggest that consideration of both environmental and individual-level factors hold importance for management of community risk and public safety for adolescents with criminal justice involvement.

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