A Pittsburgh-based study found that boys whose parents were
less involved, engaged and communicative with them during childhood were
significantly more likely to carry a gun during their teen years. The study,
“Parental Disengagement in Childhood and Adolescent Male Gun Carrying,”
published in the April 2019 Pediatrics (published March 4 online),
followed 503 boys initially recruited from 1st-grade classrooms.
Researchers conducted semiannual and annual assessments of the boys from the
time they were approximately 7.5 years old until age 20, through interviews
with the boys, their parents and their teachers. About 100 teens – or 20
percent of the participants - reported carrying a gun during the study period.
Researchers found that boys with higher parental disengagement were more likely
to affiliate with delinquent peers and display aggression, bullying or other
external problems during adolescence. Both factors, in turn, increased the
likelihood that the teen would carry a gun during later teen years. The authors
conclude that interventions to improve the parent-son relationship during childhood
could help prevent teens from carrying guns. The study was funded by the
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds