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December 1989

Firearm Ownership Among Nonurban Adolescents

Author Affiliations

From the Division of General Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology, Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine (Dr Sadowski); the Department of Psychology (Dr Cairns); and the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health (Dr Earp), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr Sadowski was a fellow in the University of North Carolina Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Programs at the time this research was conducted.

Am J Dis Child. 1989;143(12):1410-1413. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1989.02150240032012

• Firearm injury is the second leading cause of death among teenagers. In this study we examined firearm acquisition and ownership in a biracial cohort of 664 teenagers (313 male and 351 female). Ownership was prevalent among male adolescents (48%) and rare among female adolescents (4%). Among these suburban and rural teenagers, the ownership rate was highest for white male adolescents (56%). Handgun ownership was more frequent among male school dropouts (22%) than enrollees (7%). The first firearm was typically acquired by late childhood or early adolescence (median age, 12.5 years). An adult male family member (eg, father, grandfather, uncle) was the primary source. The prevalence, developmental timing, and sociodemographic correlates of firearm acquisition should be useful for informing preventive clinical practice and interventions.

(AJDC. 1989;143:1410-1413)

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