Frequency of Guns in the Households of High School Seniors

Ann L. Coker, Heather M. Bush, Diane R. Follingstad, Candace J. Brancato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: In 2013, President Obama lifted the federal ban on gun violence research. The current study provides one of the first reports to estimate household gun ownership as reported by youth. METHODS: In this cohort study of 3006 high school seniors from 24 schools, we examined the frequency of household guns ownership. RESULTS: About 65% reported having at least 1 gun in their household. White males were more likely to have a gun and to have more guns than other demographically characterized groups. After adjustment for race and sex, those of higher income, who lived in suburban or rural areas, identified as being exclusively attracted to the opposite sex, and in a romantic relationship, were more likely to have a gun in their household. Having a gun was not associated with increasing symptoms of depression or current poor physical or mental health. CONCLUSIONS: Whereas we cannot determine gun types or reasons for having a gun, this research indicates that high school seniors are aware of and may have access to guns for use other than their intended purpose. Household gun ownership among students at higher risk for violence may pose safety challenges for communities and schools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-158
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of School Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, American School Health Association


  • adolescent health
  • firearms
  • gun ownership
  • mental health
  • safety education
  • youth violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Philosophy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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