Handgun carrying is associated with a wide range of delinquent behaviors, but very little is known about sex differences in this behavior and current trends in handgun carrying in the United States. Using data from the 2002 to 2015 National Study of Drug Use and Health surveys, we found that the prevalence of handgun carrying among girls nearly doubled from 0.9% to 1.7% with most of this increase seen among non-Hispanic White and Hispanic girls. Although boys are more likely to carry handguns, approximately 20% of the total handgun carrying by adolescents in the United States occurs among girls. Both male and female adolescents who have carried a handgun in the past year evince a behavioral profile that is characterized by substance use, versatile delinquency, elevated risk propensity, and substantial school and family problems. However, adjusted odds ratios are consistently higher for females, suggesting that girls who engage in handgun carrying represent an important subgroup of potentially pernicious offenders that should be targeted for primary and tertiary prevention and juvenile justice system oversight.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)
- Developmental and Educational Psychology