Online Program

Collective efficacy and weapon carrying in Boston neighborhoods: A multilevel study

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 3:18 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Beth E. Molnar, ScD, Institute on Urban Health Research, Bouvé College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, MA
Roman Pabayo, PhD, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Erin C. Dunn, MPH, ScD, Society, Human Development & Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Matthew Miller, MD, ScD, Department of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, MA
David Hemenway, PhD, Harvard Injury Control Research Center, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Deborah Azrael, PhD, Harvard Injury Control Research Center, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Background Youth violence is a significant public health problem. In 2011 the Youth Risk Behavior Survey by the CDC estimated 32.5% of youth in the U.S. fought and 3.9% were injured in a fight in the past year, and 16.6% carried a weapon at least one day in the 30 days prior to the survey. Research has shown that youth violence occurs in multiple contexts, e.g. home, school, neighborhoods. Evidence is accumulating that neighborhood-level collective efficacy, or the perception that one's community has trust and the ability to work together on issues, may be protective against violence. Methods This study examined associations between neighborhood-level collective efficacy and other protective factors, and lower prevalence of weapon carrying (knives and firearms) by individual youth. Data come from the 2008 Boston Youth Survey (N=1878), conducted with students in public high schools grades 9-12, randomly selected by classroom; and the 2008 Boston Neighborhood Survey (N=1710) of randomly selected adults. Surveys were geo-coded for multi-level analyses. Meaningful clusters of Census tracts (N=38) were identified using qualitative/quantitative methods. Estimates from the U.S. Census were used to control for neighborhood-level structural factors. Results Twelve months prior to the survey, 31% of this diverse, representative sample carried knives, and 5.5% carried guns. Among boys, collective efficacy was significantly associated with less knife and gun carrying, especially its component social cohesion. Multi-level, multivariate results will be presented and intervention implications discussed. Conclusions Neighborhood resources such as collective efficacy have potentially protective effects on youth violence and thus intervention implications.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the magnitude of weapon carrying among a representative sample of diverse youth in an urban environment Describe the multilevel association between neighborhood collective efficacy and adolescent weapon carrying Discuss intervention implications of these results for mobilizing collective efficacy as a violence prevention strategy

Keyword(s): Violence Prevention, Community Assets

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator of multiple federally funded grants focusing on the epidemiology of violence. I have published studies on the role of collective efficacy and other neighborhood resources on outcomes including firearm carrying, physical activity, child maltreatment, and aggression and delinquency. Together with co-authors on this abstract, we designed and carried out multiple waves of data collection that provided the data for this study.
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.