Dynamic Risk Factors for Handgun Carrying: Are There Developmental or Sex Differences?

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4 Scopus citations


Objective: This study examines the effects of dynamic risk factors on handgun carrying from adolescence into young adulthood. Method: A nationally representative sample of 8,679 individuals (ages 12–26; 51.1% male; 58% White, 26.8% African American; 21.2% Hispanic ethnicity) from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1997 cohort) interviewed at least three times across nine annual waves is used to estimate effects on handgun carrying. Key predictors include gang membership, selling and using drugs, violent crime, and arrest. Using mixed effects models, we focus on within-individual effects across three timeframes from ages 12 to 26: 1) predictors and handgun carrying measured concurrently, 2) predictors measured across one year and handgun carrying measured in the final month of the same year, and 3) predictors measured in the wave before handgun carrying. We also contrast estimates by sex and age. Results: All theoretically relevant predictors statistically significantly predict handgun carrying across the first two timeframes. However, none are statistically significant predictors of handgun carrying in the following year. Few significant sex and age differences emerge. Conclusions: Handgun carrying is an ephemeral behavior particularly during adolescence. The predictors of handgun carrying, which are grounded in gangs, drug use/sale, and crime involvement, appear to have short-term impacts that are consistent across age as well as across sex. Consequently, future work should focus on shorter-term changes in models and there is no evidence that intervention efforts must take fundamentally different approaches to reduce handgun use among males versus females or adolescents versus adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-325
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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