More than one in four US kids exposed to weapon violence

According to a recent study, approximately one in four children in the US will be exposed to weapon violence before their eighteenth birthday. The same study reports that one in 33 children will be directly assaulted in incidents involving knives or guns. In total, this amounts to 17.5 million children in the U.S. being witnesses to, or victims of, assaults with weapons. This number far exceeds the numbers of children with diabetes or cancer.

Data for the study was collected via a national telephone survey of 4,114 children between the ages of 2 and 17. Parents or caregivers provided answers for children under the age of 10. The study found that boys, minorities, and children from low-income families or households not headed by two biological or adoptive parents were most likely to be exposed to weapon violence.

Children exposed to regular violence are more likely to suffer from “toxic stress” which affects neurological development and can lead to future health problems. Regular exposure to stress has been linked to immune system problems, heart disease, nervous system complications and mental health disorders. More >>

Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine currently conducts interdisciplinary research on stress and violence. Learn more about Tulane research projects.