Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 763–810 | Cite as

A scoping review of patterns, motives, and risk and protective factors for adolescent firearm carriage

  • Stephen N. Oliphant
  • Charles A. Mouch
  • Ali Rowhani-Rahbar
  • Stephen Hargarten
  • Jonathan Jay
  • David Hemenway
  • Marc Zimmerman
  • Patrick M. CarterEmail author
  • for the FACTS Consortium


Firearm carriage is a key risk factor for interpersonal firearm violence, a leading cause of adolescent (age < 18) mortality. However, the epidemiology of adolescent firearm carriage has not been well characterized. This scoping review examined four databases (PubMed; Scopus; EMBASE; Criminal Justice Abstracts) to summarize research on patterns, motives, and underlying risk/protective factors for adolescent firearm carriage. Of 6156 unique titles, 53 peer-reviewed articles met inclusion criteria and were reviewed. These studies mostly examined urban Black youth, finding that adolescents typically carry firearms intermittently throughout adolescence and primarily for self-defense/protection. Seven future research priorities were identified, including: (1) examining adolescent carriage across age, gender, and racial/ethnic subgroups; (2) improving on methodological limitations of prior research, including disaggregating firearm from other weapon carriage and using more rigorous methodology (e.g., random/systematic sampling; broader population samples); (3) conducting longitudinal analyses that establish temporal causality for patterns, motives, and risk/protective factors; (4) capitalizing on m-health to develop more nuanced characterizations of underlying motives; (5) increasing the study of precursors for first-time carriage; (6) examining risk and protective factors beyond the individual-level; and, (7) enhancing the theoretical foundation for firearm carriage within future investigations.


Firearm Adolescent Scoping review Carriage patterns Risk/protective factors Motives 



The authors wish to acknowledge Lynn Massey, Laney Rupp, Jhuree Hong, and Carrie Musolf for assistance with the literature search, data abstraction, and manuscript preparation. The authors wish to acknowledge the University of Michigan Taubman Health Sciences Librarian Information Staff, including Judith Smith MS and Gupreet Rana MLIS, for their help with conducting the initial literature and database search.


This work was funded by NIH/NICHD (Grand No. 1R24HD087149-01A1) and by NIH/NIDA (Grand No. K23DA039341). The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the funding agencies. No honoraria, grants or other form of payment were received for producing this manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Stephen N. Oliphant, Charles A. Mouch, Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, Stephen Hargarten, Jonathan Jay, David Hemenway, Marc Zimmerman, and Patrick M. Carter declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights and Informed consent

This research doesn’t involve human subjects and/or animals. As this research doesn’t involve human subjects, no informed consent was obtained.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen N. Oliphant
    • 1
    • 2
  • Charles A. Mouch
    • 1
    • 3
  • Ali Rowhani-Rahbar
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  • Stephen Hargarten
    • 1
    • 6
  • Jonathan Jay
    • 1
    • 7
  • David Hemenway
    • 1
    • 7
  • Marc Zimmerman
    • 1
    • 9
    • 10
    • 11
  • Patrick M. Carter
    • 1
    • 8
    • 9
    • 10
    • 11
    Email author
  • for the FACTS Consortium
  1. 1.Firearm Safety Among Children and Teens ConsortiumUniversity of Michigan School of MedicineAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Gerald R. Ford School of Public PolicyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Department of SurgeryUniversity of Michigan School of MedicineAnn ArborUSA
  4. 4.Department of EpidemiologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  5. 5.Harborview Injury Prevention and ResearchCenter University of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  6. 6.Department of Emergency Medicine and Comprehensive Injury CenterMedical College of WisconsinMilwaukeeUSA
  7. 7.Department of Health Policy and ManagementHarvard T. H. Chan School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  8. 8.Department of Emergency MedicineUniversity of Michigan School of MedicineAnn ArborUSA
  9. 9.Department of Health Behavior and Health EducationUniversity of Michigan School Public HealthAnn ArborUSA
  10. 10.Youth Violence Prevention CenterUniv. of Michigan School of Public HealthAnn ArborUSA
  11. 11.Department of Emergency Medicine, Univ. of Michigan Injury Prevention CenterUniversity of Michigan School of MedicineAnn ArborUSA

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