Risk and protective factors related to youth firearm violence: a scoping review and directions for future research

Abstract

To conduct our scoping review of risk and protective factors for firearm violence among youth, we searched PubMed, Scopus, EMBASE, and Criminal Justice Abstracts for English-language research articles published between January 1985 and May 2018. We included studies of modifiable risk or protective factors associated with intentional (including suicide) or unintentional firearm victimization or perpetration with samples that included youth ≤ 17. Among the 28 included studies, 15 explored risk/protective factors for victimization, five focused on perpetration, five did not differentiate between victimization and perpetration, and five focused on suicide. Most studies examined individual-level risk factors. The few that explored factors beyond the individual were limited by methodological weaknesses and inconsistent findings. Protective factors for youth firearm outcomes were understudied. We need more research on youth firearm violence using longitudinal data and robust statistical methods. Future research is needed to understand the underlying mechanisms by which risk/protective factors influence firearm violence.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Lynn Massey, Max Ozer-Staton, Melissa Goodman, and Mikala Cox for their support conducting this scoping review. We also extend our thanks to the University of Michigan Taubman Health Sciences Librarian Staff, including informationists, Kate Saylor, MLIS, who conducted the database searches for this scoping review, and Judith Smith, MS and Gupreet Rana, MLIS for additional consulting and advice on our search strategies.

Funding

This review was funded by NIH/NICHD 1R24HD087149-01A1. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the funding agencies.

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Correspondence to Carissa J. Schmidt.

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Drs. Schmidt, Pizarro, Lee, Branas, Zimmerman, and Ms. Rupp declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

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Appendix: Full PubMed search strategy

Appendix: Full PubMed search strategy

“Wounds, Gunshot/epidemiology”[Mesh:NoExp] OR (“wounds, gunshot”[majr] OR firearms[majr])AND “Risk”[Mesh] OR “Risk Assessment”[Mesh] OR “Risk Factors”[Mesh] OR “Protective Factors”[Mesh] OR “Risk Reduction Behavior”[Mesh] OR “Forecasting”[Mesh] OR “Risk-Taking”[Mesh] OR “Dangerous Behavior”[Mesh] OR “Risk Reduction Behavior”[majr] AND adolescent[MeSH] OR youth[MeSH] OR child[MeSH] OR teenager[tiab] OR teen[tiab] OR adolescent[tiab] OR adolescence[tiab]OR child[tiab] OR children[tiab] OR minor[tiab] OR delinquent[tiab] OR pediatric[tiab] OR youth[tiab] OR juvenile[tiab].

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Schmidt, C.J., Rupp, L., Pizarro, J.M. et al. Risk and protective factors related to youth firearm violence: a scoping review and directions for future research. J Behav Med 42, 706–723 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-019-00076-7

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Keywords

  • Children
  • Adolescents
  • Firearm violence
  • Firearm suicide
  • Risk factors