Project Summary

Gun violence in the U.S. is a serious public health concern. The nation's firearm death rate is the highest among industrialized nations, with an alarmingly high rate among African-American youth. We aim to examine childhood and adolescent contextual and individual predictors of late adolescent and early adulthood gun attitudes and gun violence among a sample of urban, mostly African-American youth, as well as factors that protect these youth from the effects of exposure to violence. Our specific aims are to: (1) evaluate the impact of exposure to people's use of weapons (guns, etc.) on risk for violent behavior, including weapon-carrying, weapon use, threatening others with a weapon, and committing crimes with a weapon; (2) examine the role of social cognitions and emotional reactions concerning general aggression and aggression with weapons in mediating the longitudinal effect of exposure to weapon violence on violent behavior; (3) examine the role of individual and contextual factors in moderating the impact of violence exposure on violent behavior; and (4) assess the impact of exposure to weapon violence and general violence at different ages on risk for subsequent weapon carrying and weapon use at later ages. This allows us to test key theoretical propositions concerning mediating cognitive and emotional processes that might account for the long-term effects of general and weapon-specific violence exposure, as well as protective factors that can inform the development of multi-layered community intervention efforts to reduce gun violence among urban youth.




  • L. Rowell Huesmann

Project Period

2016-06-15 - 2021-04-30