Research Article|Articles in Press

Associations Between Exposure to School Violence and Weapon-Carrying at School


      Among U.S. high school students, interpersonal violence and victimizations often occur on school property. The presence of a weapon can increase the potential for injury and death resulting from an interpersonal conflict. This study examines the associations between exposure to school violence and weapon-carrying on school property among U.S. high school students.


      Data from the 2017 and 2019 national Youth Risk Behavior Surveys were combined (N=28,442) and analyzed in 2022. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to calculate sex-stratified, adjusted (for race/ethnicity, grade, sexual identity, current substance use, suicidal thoughts, and history of concussion) prevalence ratios (aPRs). Prevalence ratios were considered statistically significant if 95% CIs did not include 1.0.


      Male students (4.7%) were more likely than female students (1.8%) to report carrying a weapon at school during the 30 days preceding the survey. Compared to students who did not experience school violence, weapon-carrying at school was more prevalent among students who were threatened or injured with a weapon at school (male students, aPR=3.45; female students, aPR=3.90); were involved in a physical fight at school (male students, aPR=3.44; female students, aPR=3.72); missed school because they did not feel safe (male students, aPR=1.98; female students, aPR=2.97); and among male students who were bullied at school (aPR=1.72).


      Increased emphasis on safe and supportive school environments, where all types of interpersonal violence are less likely to occur, and increased access to programs and services to promote mental health, prevent violence, and deter weapon use are needed.
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