Gun carrying by high school students in Boston, MA: Does overestimation of peer gun carrying matter?

David Hemenway, Mary Vriniotis, Renee M. Johnson, Matthew Miller, Deborah Azrael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper investigates: (1) whether high school students overestimate gun carrying by their peers, and (2) whether those students who overestimate peer gun carrying are more likely to carry firearms. Data come from a randomly sampled survey conducted in 2008 of over 1700 high school students in Boston, MA. Over 5% of students reported carrying a gun, 9% of boys and 2% of girls. Students substantially overestimated the percentage of their peers who carried guns; the likelihood that a respondent carried a gun was strongly associated with their perception of the level of peer gun carrying. Most respondents believed it was easier for other youth to obtain guns than it was for them. Social marketing campaigns designed to lower young people's perceptions about the prevalence of peer gun carrying may be a promising strategy for reducing actual gun carrying among youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)997-1003
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Volume34
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Contagion
  • Firearms
  • Gang
  • Gun carrying
  • Social marketing campaigns
  • Social norms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Gun carrying by high school students in Boston, MA: Does overestimation of peer gun carrying matter?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this