Reducing Weapon-Carrying Among Urban American Indian Young People

Linda H. Bearinger, Sandra L. Pettingell, Michael D. Resnick, Sandra J. Potthoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: To examine the likelihood of weapon-carrying among urban American Indian young people, given the presence of salient risk and protective factors. Methods: The study used data from a confidential, self-report Urban Indian Youth Health Survey with 200 forced-choice items examining risk and protective factors and social, contextual, and demographic information. Between 1995 and 1998, 569 American Indian youths, aged 9-15 years, completed surveys administered in public schools and an after-school program. Using logistic regression, probability profiles compared the likelihood of weapon-carrying, given the combinations of salient risk and protective factors. Results: In the final models, weapon-carrying was associated significantly with one risk factor (substance use) and two protective factors (school connectedness, perceiving peers as having prosocial behavior attitudes/norms). With one risk factor and two protective factors, in various combinations in the models, the likelihood of weapon carrying ranged from 4% (with two protective factors and no risk factor in the model) to 80% of youth (with the risk factor and no protective factors in the model). Even in the presence of the risk factor, the two protective factors decreased the likelihood of weapon-carrying to 25%. Conclusions: This analysis highlights the importance of protective factors in comprehensive assessments and interventions for vulnerable youth. In that the risk factor and two protective factors significantly related to weapon-carrying are amenable to intervention at both individual and population-focused levels, study findings offer a guide for prioritizing strategies for decreasing weapon-carrying among urban American Indian young people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-50
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study and its authors were supported in part by grants NIH/ 1R01-NR03562-01A1 , (L.H.B.) from the National Institute of Nursing Research , NIH; NIH/ 1R03-MN601-02 , (L.H.B.) from the National Institute of Mental Health , NIH; MCJ279185 (L.H.B.) from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, (Title V, Social Security Act) Health Resources and Services Administration ; T01-DP000112 (L.H.B.) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ; and R49/CCR511638-03-2 (M.D.R.) from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC .


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