184621 Association between Maladaptive Conflict Managements Skills and Weapon Brandishment among Impoverished Adolescents

Monday, October 27, 2008

Alexis Magdalene Inabinet, MA , Medical Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Maja Altarac, MD, MPH, PHD , Department of Maternal and Child Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birimingham, AL
John Bolland, PhD , College of Human & Environmental Services, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Background: With homicide continuing to rank as the second leading cause of death among youth, research must focus on diminishing weapon brandishment rates. Learning more about how adolescents handle conflicts may explain high weapon brandishment rates and guide prevention efforts.

Methods: The Mobile Youth Survey (MYS) is a community research project designed to determine decision making and subsequent health risk among impoverished adolescents. The responses of 2,335 adolescents that participated in the 2006 wave of the MYS were analyzed in order to identify if there is an association between poor conflict management skills, such as difficulty controlling anger and a tendency to solve conflicts with retaliation, and carrying guns, knives, and/or razors in the past three months.

Results: One-fifth of adolescents (n=488, 20.9%) reported carrying a knife or razor, and 388 (16.6%) reported carrying a gun in the past three months. Adolescents that reported fighting, yelling or getting crazy when angry, having a quick temper, not caring who gets hurt when they get mad, believing that hitting someone will knock sense into them, and believing that a person should stand their ground when in an argument were between 1.28 and 2.17 times more likely to report carrying a gun, knife and/or razor in the past three months, while adjusting for age and gender.

Conclusions: Adolescents that indicated maladaptive approaches to conflict were more likely carry a knife, razor or gun in the past three months. Intervention programs should consider teaching high risk adolescents adaptive methods of managing confrontation and anger.

Learning Objectives:
1. Recognize the prevalence of weapon brandishment and related violence among impoverished communities. 2. Link poor conflict management skills with weapon carrying among adolescents. 3. Discuss improving conflict management skills among adolescents to diminish weapon brandishment in high poverty communities.

Keywords: Youth Violence, Poverty

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Maja Altarac, MD, PHD, MPH supervised the first author on this and other research projects
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.