Traits associated with increased risk of gun use among high-risk adolescents

June 16, 2020

Research out today identifies traits among high-risk adolescents associated with increased risk for gun use. Among high-risk adolescents, those with greater callous-unemotional traits were more likely to carry a gun and to use a gun during a crime over a four-year period following an initial arrest, according to a study published online in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Callous-unemotional traits refer to individuals with limited guilt, reduced empathy, reduced displays of appropriate emotion, and a lack of concern over performance in important activities. An estimated 25% - 30% of adolescents with serious conduct problems have callous-unemotional traits and they have more persistent and severe aggression and worse treatment outcomes than adolescents without callous-unemotional traits.

Gun violence is a serious public health concern in the U.S. and reducing gun violence by youth is of particular concern. Nearly 40,000 people in the U.S. died of gun-related violence in 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Approximately 30% of gun-related homicides were committed by adolescents and young adults ages 12-24.

The study, led by researchers at the Louisiana State University, involved more than 1,200 high-risk adolescents, or male juvenile offenders from three regions of the U.S. They were assessed after their first arrest and then reassessed every six months for three years and at four years. Callous-unemotional traits were measured through a standardized self-report inventory after the first arrest. The use of a gun during a crime and peer gun carrying and ownership were self-reported.

After accounting for other factors (such as lifetime offending, impulse control, parental monitoring and exposure to violence) the study found teens with greater callous-unemotional traits were more likely to carry a gun and to use a gun during a crime in the four years after their initial arrest. Lead author Emily L. Robertson, M.A, and colleagues also found that the teens with greater callous-unemotional traits were less likely to be influenced by their peers owning/carrying guns compared to teens with less callous-unemotional traits, suggesting the known influence of peer gun carrying and ownership may have been underestimated in past research.

The authors conclude that "callous-unemotional traits predicted increased frequency of gun carrying and a higher likelihood of using a gun in a violent crime." They note, however, callous-unemotional traits were not as strong of a predictor of carrying a gun as other risk factors (such as lifetime offending and exposure to violence).
-end-
American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with 38,800 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA's vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information please visit http://www.psychiatry.org.

American Psychiatric Association

Related Violence Articles from Brightsurf:

Combined intimate partner violence that includes sexual violence is common & more damaging
Women who experience sexual violence combined with other forms of intimate partner violence suffer greater damage to their health and are much more likely to attempt suicide, according to a study led by researchers at the University of Bristol's Centre for Academic Primary Care published in the International Journal of Epidemiology today [12 November 2020].

As farming developed, so did cooperation -- and violence
The growth of agriculture led to unprecedented cooperation in human societies, a team of researchers, has found, but it also led to a spike in violence, an insight that offers lessons for the present.

The front line of environmental violence
Environmental defenders on the front line of natural resource conflict are being killed at an alarming rate, according to a University of Queensland study.

What can trigger violence in postcolonial Africa?
Why do civil wars and coups d'├ętat occur more frequently in some sub-Saharan African countries than others.

Another victim of violence: Trust in those who mean no harm
Exposure to violence does not change the ability to learn who is likely to do harm, but it does damage the ability to place trust in 'good people,' psychologists at Yale and University of Oxford report April 26 in the journal Nature Communications

Victims of gun violence tell their stories: Everyday violence, 'feelings of hopelessness'
Invited to share their personal stories, victims of urban gun violence describe living with violence as a 'common everyday experience' and feeling abandoned by police and other societal institutions, reports a study in the November/December Journal of Trauma Nursing, official publication of the Society of Trauma Nurses.

Does more education stem political violence?
In a study released online today in Review of Educational Research, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association, three Norwegian researchers attempt to bring clarity to this question by undertaking the first systematic examination of quantitative research on this topic.

Teen dating violence is down, but boys still report more violence than girls
When it comes to teen dating violence, boys are more likely to report being the victim of violence -- being hit, slapped, or pushed--than girls.

Preventing murder by addressing domestic violence
Victims of domestic violence are at a high risk to be murdered -- or a victim of attempted murder -- according to a Cuyahoga County task force of criminal-justice professionals, victim advocates and researchers working to prevent domestic violence and homicides.

'Love displaces violence'
Art historian Eva-Bettina Krems on persistent motifs of peace in art from antiquity to the present day -- dove, rainbow or victory of love: artists draw on recurring motifs.

Read More: Violence News and Violence Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.