The intention of adolescents to carry a knife or a gun: A study of low-income African-American adolescents

Margo A. Lane, Shayna D. Cunningham, Jonathan M. Ellen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: To examine whether African-American inner-city adolescents are independently motivated by a fear of victimization or by delinquency to carry a knife or gun. Methods: A household sample of 130 female and 93 male African-American adolescents, aged 13-19 years old, were queried about their fear of victimization, history of delinquency, and intention to carry a knife or a gun in the next 3 months. Results: A high intention to carry a knife was reported by 27% of the males and 35% of the females. A high intention to carry a gun was reported by 25% of the males and 9% of the females. The intention to carry a knife was independently associated with a history of delinquency in females (odds ratio [OR] = 3.0; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.4-6.2) and males (OR = 4.7; 95% CI = 1.7-13.3). It was not associated with a fear of victimization. The intention to carry a gun was independently associated with fear of victimization in females (OR = 4.5; 95% CI = 1.1-17.7) and males (OR = 3.3; 95% CI = 1.1-9.9). It was also independently associated with a history of delinquency in females (OR = 4.1; 95% CI = 1.1-16.3) and males (OR = 11.7; 95% CI = 3.1-44.7). Conclusions: Delinquency may play a role in motivating inner-city African-American adolescents to carry a knife, whereas both delinquency and fear of victimization may influence adolescents' motivation to carry a gun.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-78
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Volume34
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2004

Keywords

  • Adolescent health
  • Delinquency
  • Gender differences
  • Victimization
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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