Firearm carriage is a key risk factor for interpersonal firearm violence, a leading cause of adolescent (age < 18) mortality. However, the epidemiology of adolescent firearm carriage has not been well characterized. This scoping review examined four databases (PubMed; Scopus; EMBASE; Criminal Justice Abstracts) to summarize research on patterns, motives, and underlying risk/protective factors for adolescent firearm carriage. Of 6156 unique titles, 53 peer-reviewed articles met inclusion criteria and were reviewed. These studies mostly examined urban Black youth, finding that adolescents typically carry firearms intermittently throughout adolescence and primarily for self-defense/protection. Seven future research priorities were identified, including: (1) examining adolescent carriage across age, gender, and racial/ethnic subgroups; (2) improving on methodological limitations of prior research, including disaggregating firearm from other weapon carriage and using more rigorous methodology (e.g., random/systematic sampling; broader population samples); (3) conducting longitudinal analyses that establish temporal causality for patterns, motives, and risk/protective factors; (4) capitalizing on m-health to develop more nuanced characterizations of underlying motives; (5) increasing the study of precursors for first-time carriage; (6) examining risk and protective factors beyond the individual-level; and, (7) enhancing the theoretical foundation for firearm carriage within future investigations.
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The authors wish to acknowledge Lynn Massey, Laney Rupp, Jhuree Hong, and Carrie Musolf for assistance with the literature search, data abstraction, and manuscript preparation. The authors wish to acknowledge the University of Michigan Taubman Health Sciences Librarian Information Staff, including Judith Smith MS and Gupreet Rana MLIS, for their help with conducting the initial literature and database search.
This work was funded by NIH/NICHD (Grand No. 1R24HD087149-01A1) and by NIH/NIDA (Grand No. K23DA039341). The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the funding agencies. No honoraria, grants or other form of payment were received for producing this manuscript.
Conflict of interest
Stephen N. Oliphant, Charles A. Mouch, Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, Stephen Hargarten, Jonathan Jay, David Hemenway, Marc Zimmerman, and Patrick M. Carter declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Human and animal rights and Informed consent
This research doesn’t involve human subjects and/or animals. As this research doesn’t involve human subjects, no informed consent was obtained.
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Appendix 1: Sample database search for articles in PubMed
Date Searched: April 8, 2018.
Filters: Publication date from 1985/01/01 to 2018/12/31.
(((gun[tiab] OR guns[tiab] OR handgun*[tiab] OR firearm*[tiab] OR firearms[MeSH Terms] OR gunshot*[tiab] OR shooting[tiab]) AND (homicide[tiab] OR homicides[tiab] OR murder*[tiab] OR fatalities[tiab] OR “homicide”[MeSH Terms] OR killing[tiab] OR killings[tiab] OR death[tiab] OR deaths[tiab] OR “death”[MeSH Terms] OR “accidents”[MeSH Terms] OR accident*[tiab] OR unintentional[tiab] OR suicide[tiab] OR suicides[tiab] OR suicidal[tiab] OR “suicide”[MeSH Terms] OR “Wounds and Injuries”[Mesh] OR injury[tiab] OR injuries[tiab] OR mortality[tiab] OR non-fatal[tiab] OR nonfatal[tiab] OR wounds,gunshot[mesh] OR united states/epidemiology[mesh]) AND (adolescent[MeSH Terms] OR youth[MeSH Terms] OR child[MeSH Terms] OR teenager[Title/Abstract] OR teen[Title/Abstract] OR adolescen*[Title/Abstract] OR child[Title/Abstract] OR youth[title/abstract] OR children[Title/Abstract] OR minor[Title/Abstract] OR minors[title/abstract] OR delinquent[Title/Abstract] OR delinquency[Title/Abstract] OR pediatric*[Title/Abstract] OR juvenile*[tiab] OR parent*[tiab]))) NOT (((((economics[MeSH Subheading] OR cost[Title/Abstract] OR costs[Title/Abstract] OR “cost-effectiveness”[tiab] OR costs and cost analysis[MeSH Terms] OR economic*[tiab] OR productivity[tiab] OR expenditure*[tiab] OR quality of life[mesh] OR “quality of life”[tiab] OR “quality-adjusted life years”[mesh] OR QALY[tiab]))) OR ((Possession[tiab] OR possess[tiab] OR storage[tiab] OR carriage[tiab] OR carrying[tiab] OR carry[tiab] OR own[tiab] OR owner[tiab] OR ownership[tiab] OR ownership[mesh]))) OR ((“Adolescent Behavior”[Mesh] OR “Behavioral Symptoms”[Mesh] OR “Firearms/statistics and numerical data”[Mesh] OR “Family Relations”[Mesh] OR “Social Behavior”[Mesh] OR “Accidents, Home”[Mesh] OR “Social Environment”[Mesh] OR “Residence Characteristics”[Mesh] OR “Sex Distribution”[Mesh] OR “Family Characteristics”[Mesh] OR “Sex Factors”[Mesh] OR “Population Surveillance”[Mesh] OR “Rural Population”[Mesh] OR “Urban Population”[Mesh] OR “Self-Injurious Behavior”[Mesh] OR “Schools”[Mesh] OR “Violence”[Mesh] OR “Crime Victims”[Mesh] OR (firearms[Mesh] AND culture[Mesh]) OR “Exposure to Violence”[Mesh] OR “Communications Media”[Mesh] OR “Mass Casualty Incidents”[Mesh] OR “Substance-Related Disorders”[Mesh] OR “Street Drugs”[Mesh] OR “Prescription Drugs”[Mesh] OR “Prescription Drug Misuse”[Mesh] OR (Ownership[Mesh] AND Firearms[Mesh]) OR “firearm ownership”[ti] OR (firearm*[ti] AND access[ti]) OR storage[ti] OR “firearm storage”[ti] OR “firearm availability”[ti] OR (Firearm[ti] AND Acquisition[ti]) OR (Illegal[ti] AND Firearm[ti]) OR “interpersonal violence”[ti] OR victimization[ti] OR “self-defense”[ti] OR “self-defence”[ti] OR “self-injury”[ti] OR “self-inflicted”[ti] OR “self-harm”[ti] OR “gun culture”[ti] OR (exposure[ti] AND “gun violence”[ti]) OR ((home[ti] OR household[ti]) AND (firearms[Mesh] OR gun[ti])) OR “community violence”[ti] OR “neighborhood violence”[ti] OR “mass shooting*”[ti] OR “mass violence”[ti] OR “substance abuse”[ti] OR “drug abuse”[ti] OR “illegal drug*”[ti] OR rural[ti] OR urban[ti]))).
Appendix 2: Modified Newcastle–Ottawa Scales used for individual article quality assessment
See Table 4.
About this article
Cite this article
Oliphant, S.N., Mouch, C.A., Rowhani-Rahbar, A. et al. A scoping review of patterns, motives, and risk and protective factors for adolescent firearm carriage. J Behav Med 42, 763–810 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-019-00048-x
- Scoping review
- Carriage patterns
- Risk/protective factors