All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Sylvie Mrug

Advisory Committee Members

Susan Davies

Christina Rodriguez

Despina Stavrinos

Jeffery Walker

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2019

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

The presence of weapons threatens the safety of all individuals on school grounds. Emergent research suggests factors linked to school weapon carrying may stem from both within and outside the school environment; however, few efforts have been made to identify a comprehensive set of risk and protective factors associated with school weapon carrying. To address this gap, the first manuscript serves as a comprehensive, systematic review of variables associated with higher or lower likelihood an adolescent will carry weapons to school. Results indicated higher rates of weapon carrying among individuals who are male, sexual minority, children of single parents; exhibit poor academic performance; have high internalizing or externalizing problems; are involved in bullying; affiliate with delinquent peers; are exposed to violence; or report low school connectedness. Results of the second manuscript, which examined relationships among school and community violence exposure, school connectedness, access to weapons, and school weapon carrying across grades 5, 7, and 10, indicated that school and community violence exposure and low school connectedness did not predict weapon carrying, but weapon carrying predicted subsequent violence exposure and low school connectedness. The third manuscript examined the effects of specific dimensions of violence exposure throughout adolescence on weapon carrying in tenth grade, with results indicating that weapon carrying was more prevalent among students who were exposed to violence in their homes or communities, those who witnessed more violence regardless of setting, and those who were victimized in multiple locations. Findings suggest that student weapon carrying is accompanied by other risky behaviors that increase an adolescent’s likelihood of encountering violent situations. Implications and directions for future research are also discussed.

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