Bullying and physical violence and their association with handgun carrying among youth growing up in rural areas

Alice M. Ellyson, Emma Gause, Vivian H. Lyons, Julia P. Schleimer, Kimberly Dalve, Margaret R. Kuklinski, Sabrina Oesterle, Elizabeth H. Weybright, Ali Rowhani-Rahbar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives: This study builds on prior research showing a strong relationship between handgun carrying and delinquent behaviors among urban youth by examining the association between handgun carrying trajectories and various types of violence in a rural sample. Methods: This study uses data from a longitudinal cohort study of 2002 public school students in the United States from 12 rural communities across 7 states from ages 12–26 (2005–2019). We used logistic regressions to assess associations of various bullying and physical violence behaviors with latent trajectories of handgun carrying from adolescence through young adulthood. Results: Compared to youth with very low probabilities of carrying a handgun in adolescence and young adulthood, trajectories with high probabilities of handgun carrying during adolescence or young adulthood were associated with greater odds of using bullying (odds ratios (ORs) ranging from 1.9 to 11.2) and higher odds of using physical violence during adolescence (ORs ranging from 1.5 to 15.9) and young adulthood (ORs ranging from 1.9 to 4.7). These trajectories with higher probabilities of handgun carrying were also associated with greater odds of experiencing physical violence like parental physical abuse and intimate partner violence, but not bullying. Conclusion and implication: Experiencing and using bullying and physical violence were associated with specific patterns of handgun carrying among youth growing up in rural areas. Handgun carrying could be an important focus of violence prevention programs among those youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107416
JournalPreventive Medicine
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • Bullying
  • Handgun carrying
  • Physical violence
  • Rural youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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