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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 219702 Find in a Library
Title: Maltreatment History and Weapon Carrying Among Early Adolescents
Journal: Child Maltreatment  Volume:12  Issue:3  Dated:August 2007  Pages:259-268
Author(s): Terri Lewis; Rebecca Leeb; Jonathan Kotch; Jamie Smith; Richard Thompson; Maureen M. Black; Melissa Pelaez-Merrick; Ernestine Briggs; Tamera Coyne-Beasley
Date Published: August 2007
Page Count: 10
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined the role of child maltreatment as a factor in weapon-carrying among 12-year-olds (n=797) interviewed as part of the Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN), an ongoing study of the factors preceding and consequences of child maltreatment.
Abstract: The findings showed a significant link between a child's abuse history and weapon-carrying, as well as a link between abuse history and perceived need for a weapon. A total of 52 children (6.5 percent) in the sample reported that they had carried or threatened someone with a weapon in the past year, and 95 children (11.9 percent) reported that they needed a weapon for protection. Of the total sample, 229 (28.73 percent) reported experiencing either physical and/or sexual abuse. The effect of physical abuse on weapon-carrying was fully mediated and the effect of sexual abuse was partially mediated by a child's perceived need for a weapon. Boys were more likely than girls to endorse weapon-carrying and have a perceived need for a weapon; only 2 percent of girls endorsed weapon-carrying. This finding of gender differences in weapon-carrying is consistent with the findings of previous research. The direct experience of abuse and the consequent perception of vulnerability to physical attack, coupled with a tendency to misperceive hostile intent, may lead youth to adopt the extreme measure of carrying a weapon for self-protection. Since not all of the abused children carried weapons or perceived the need for one, future research should focus on the alternatives that abused youth use for self-protection other than weapons. Data for the current analyses were collected when the children in LONGSCAN were approximately 12 years old. Of the 1,354 children, interviews were completed with 797 of the children across 4 sites. Interviews obtained data on demographics, abuse history, and weapon involvement. 3 tables and 64 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Child abuse; Child Sexual Abuse; Long term health effects of child abuse; Weapon carrying
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