Statement of Purpose Theory and evidence suggest that young people exposed to violence in their residential environments endure adverse consequences, regardless of whether the violence is experienced firsthand. Household and neighborhood resources may impact the likelihood of exposure and buffer negative effects on health.
Methods/Approach Data from the 2014/2017 wave of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study were geospatially linked with the Gun Violence Archive (n=2,471). Descriptive analyses generated frequency estimates of exposure to gun homicides occurring within 800 meters from adolescents’ homes (~0.5 miles or the size of a typical neighborhood) and within the past 14, 30, and 365 days. Logistic regressions calculated the predicted probability of exposure by race/ethnicity within terciles of household income (<100% FPL, 100–199% FPL, >200% FPL) and neighborhood collective efficacy (low, medium, high).
Results 3.1% of adolescents experienced a gun homicide within 800 meters of their home in the past 14 days. Prevalence increased to 4.9% and 25.1% when considering incidents in the past 30 and 365 days, respectively, including 6.5% of youth who experienced 3+ incidents in the past year. On average, the nearest past-year incident occurred within 751 meters of adolescents’ homes, and the most recent incident within their neighborhood occurred in the past 129 days. Higher collective efficacy was associated with lower risk of exposure across racial-ethnic and income categories. Adolescents in high-income households in low collective efficacy neighborhoods had similar probabilities of exposure as those in poor households in high collective efficacy neighborhoods, though stark racial-ethnic inequalities remained (White=12%, Black=36%, Latinx=32%, Other/Multiracial=34%).
Conclusion Adolescent exposure to neighborhood gun violence is common and unequally distributed, reflecting the concentration of structural disadvantage in minoritized communities. Household income contributes to racial-ethnic inequities, but cohesive and trusting community relationships may mitigate neighborhood gun violence risk.
Significance Measures of gun violence exposure limited to witnessing or experiencing a shooting greatly underestimate who is touched by community violence. Given well-documented consequences of gun violence exposure on health and wellbeing, more comprehensive estimates can help direct place-based resources to a broader spectrum of impacted youth and families.
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