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Peers and Gun Use Among Urban Adolescent Males: An Examination of Social Embeddedness

NCJ Number
226406
Author(s)
Kerryn Bell, Shelley Bloom, Maquette S. McBryde, Deanna L. Wilkinson, Brice Williams
Date Published
February 2009
Length
25 pages
Annotation
This study examined patterns of gun-related behaviors (possession, carrying, and use) among urban youth.
Abstract
Findings show that guns were equated with self-protection, the most prevalent reason given for possession and carrying behaviors of peers. Most youth reported multiple types of involvement in gun-related behaviors and were deeply enmeshed in networks of peers who, from their perspective, were also deeply involved in gun-related behaviors and other crimes. Co-offending in violent events appears to be situational as particular features of the situation are more likely to result in the co-participation of peers in violent events. This study adds to the existent knowledge on the peer contexts of violent delinquency and offers insights to the study of co-offending, particularly with regard to gun violence. The peer context, like the neighborhood environment, shapes the cognitive landscape of urban adolescents in particular ways. With cross-sectional data, the direction of influence of peers on gun-related behaviors was unable to be distinguished. The process by which peers became engaged in violence as co-offenders in particular events can clearly be documented. Data were collected from interviews with 416 violent male offenders from 2 disadvantaged New York City neighborhoods. Tables and references

Date Published: February 1, 2009