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School Connectedness and Social Support Serve as Protective Factors Against Violence and Firearm Carrying

Pulavarthi, Teja S (2022) School Connectedness and Social Support Serve as Protective Factors Against Violence and Firearm Carrying. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Purpose: Firearms have consistently been a concern for adolescent health and are a leading cause of pediatric deaths nationwide. Few studies have identified protective factors that reduce the risk of firearm violence. Therefore, this study examines the interpersonal protective factors school connectedness and social support.

Methods: Data were gathered through an anonymous survey conducted within an urban school district across 13 high schools in 2018 (n=2,604) modeled on the CDC Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey. School connectedness and social support were the exposures of interest. The primary outcomes were firearm carrying and engaging in violence with a weapon on school property in the past 12 months. Separate logistic models were built for each of the protective factors to identify associations with the primary outcomes. Models were adjusted for age, race, and covariates representing basic needs, education, and mental health.

Results: Mean age was 15.7 years, and 57.5% (n=1477) of youth were female. Majority of the students were white (57.6% (n=1485)) and 36.6% (n=944) were Black. 5.8% (n=141) of youth had carried firearms and 5.5% (n=142) engaged in violence with a weapon on school property in the past 12 months. In the adjusted regression models, school connectedness was significantly inversely associated with engaging in violence with a weapon on school property (Odds Ratio (OR) 0.230, 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 0.081-0.648) and social support was significantly inversely associated with firearm carrying (OR 0.444, 95% CI: 0.262-0.752). School connectedness and social support may be important in protecting youth from firearm and weapon-related violence. Interventions that strengthen safe and supportive interpersonal relationships within school environments and support systems may help reduce youth violence involvement.

Significance: Caring and supportive school environments and social supports for youth are modifiable protective factors to reduce youth violence involvement, emphasizing the public health significance of this study and the need to further evaluate the social networks of youth.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Pulavarthi, Teja Stsp22@pitt.edutsp22
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairFabio, Anthonyanthony.fabio@pitt.eduanthony.fabioUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberCulyba, Alisonalison.culyba@chp.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberMiller, Elizabethelizabeth.miller@chp.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date: 30 August 2022
Date Type: Completion
Submission Date: 11 August 2022
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 32
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Firearm Community Health School Connectedness Support Systems Social Support Violence Prevention Youth Violence Violence Firearm Prevention Youth Safety Violence Involvement Protective Factors Interpersonal Strength-Based Strengths-Based Injury Prevention Firearm Involvement Adolescent Youth Public Health
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2022 17:01
Last Modified: 30 Aug 2022 17:01


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