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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 196785 Find in a Library
Title: Behavior-Oriented Approaches to Reducing Youth Gun Violence
Journal: Future of Children  Volume:12  Issue:2  Dated:Summer/Fall 2002  Pages:101-117
Author(s): Marjorie S. Hardy Ph.D.
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 17
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This document discusses behavioral approaches to gun violence prevention and the obstacles that hamper the effectiveness of these programs.
Abstract: Changing personal behavior--of both parents and children--is a key element in reducing gun violence among youth. Efforts to bring about these changes include community-based campaigns, laws and programs that encourage parents to store their guns safely, educational initiatives that focus on keeping children away from guns, and encouraging youth to resolve disputes without violence. However, these behavior-oriented programs have not shown much success. Supportive communities play a key role in protecting youth from violence in general, but the few community-based violence prevention programs that focus on youth have not shown a decrease in youth access or use of guns. Gun-free school zones, community revitalization efforts, after-school programs, and media promotions through billboards, mass mailings, and public service announcements are all examples of community activities aimed at modifying the behavior of individuals within communities. Behavioral programs and legal interventions aimed at parents, such as child access prevention laws and gun safety counseling, have not been proven to reduce youth gun violence due to parental misperceptions about children’s risk of injury and ability to protect themselves. A particularly difficult target for behavioral change programs is children and youth. Cognitive immaturity among younger children and perceptions of invulnerability among adolescents may be part of the reason. The differing thought processes of boys and girls and other gender differences also present obstacles to developing programs to prevent firearm injury. Most programs that seek to persuade youth to stay away from guns have not been proven effective. “Just Say No” programs may not be comprehensive enough to help children develop and retain the skills needed to stay safe around guns. Although these programs could be improved, they hold limited promise for reducing youth gun violence. 1 table, 83 endnotes, appendix
Main Term(s): Firearms deaths; Program evaluation; Youth (Under 15)
Index Term(s): Child victims; Crime Control Programs; Criminal justice program evaluation; Fatalities; Firearms; Homicide
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