Weapons and violence: A review of theory and research

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Weapons and violence: A review of theory and research

Category: Behavior|Journal: Aggression and Violent Behavior (full text)|Author: I Brennan, S Moore|Year: 2009

Results suggest that given the complexity and often paradoxical associations with fear, aggression, coercion, and expression, alongside the potential of weapons for facilitating violence and injury, weapon use needs to be understood not just as a corollary of violence, but as a behavior with its own dynamics, antecedents and consequences. Furthermore, weapons use needs to be understood within the wider social context of deprivation and subcultures of violence. Theories of weapons related behavior, such as the interpersonal model of Wilkinson and Fagan (2001) and the conflict resolution model of Gleditsch (1990) represent potentially fruitful methods of understanding illicit weapons related behaviors while informing violence prevention methods. Focusing on high school students may reveal some interesting correlates of weapons related behavior. The knowledge that can be gained for surveys with a specific group of adolescents is limited and is unlikely to provide answers to questions about how best to prevent weapons related violence in the community. Multi-methodological approaches focusing on motivations, weapon availability and psychosocial characteristics and the interactions between these factors all need to be fur considered. Further research also needs to be conducted to determine whether weapons use is an indicator of distinguishing personality characteristics, or is simply a behavior at the extreme end of the violence spectrum. Future longitudinal studies are required that identify pathways of onset of and desistance from weapons related behavior. Similarly, detailed pathway models of weapons use are required to illuminate the situational and cognitive elements of the decision to use a weapon during a violent altercation.

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