Stressed Out and Strapped: Examining the Link Between Psychological Difficulties and Student Weapon Carrying and Use

Cheryl L. Johnson, Pamela Wilcox, Samuel Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Using data on middle-school adolescents from the Rural Substance Abuse and Violence Project (RSVP), the authors examined the extent to which psychological difficulties are related to student weapon carrying and use, net of other criminological variables. Furthermore, the authors examined whether psychological difficulties had variable effects across school contexts. Initial logistic regression models showed that variables tapping psychological difficulties (fear of crime, family history of mental illness, and low self-control) were significantly related to student weapon carrying and use. Once other criminological and demographic controls were added, only low self-control remained significant. Multilevel models incorporating random slope coefficients and cross-level interactions showed that the relationship between low self-control and student weapon carrying/use was attenuated in schools with higher levels of school efficacy and school security. Similarly, the relationship between fear of crime and weapon carrying depended on the level of school security, with the effect weakened as school security increased.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)980-998
Number of pages19
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Volume46
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychology(all)
  • Law

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