Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Health

First Advisor

Shannon Self-Brown, PhD

Second Advisor

Betty Lai, PhD

Third Advisor

Greta Massetti, PhD


Youth violence is a widespread public health problem affecting thousands of adolescents ages 10-24 each year. Violence-exposed youth have greater risk for negative physical and mental health outcomes. Adolescent weapon carrying is a form of delinquent behavior associated with youth violence. Child maltreatment (CM) has been identified as a risk factor for weapon carrying. This study sought to elucidate the relationship between CM and weapon carrying by exploring three potential mediators at the interpersonal level of the social-ecological model: in-home firearm access, quality of relationship with father, and quality of relationship with mother. Data were from the Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect, which followed 1,354 children at risk for CM from approximately age 4 to age 18. The exploratory mediational hypotheses were not supported. However, results found that a positive association between child protective services-substantiated physical abuse history and adolescent weapon carrying, after controlling for child gender, annual family income, study site, and propensity score (B=0.12, 95% CI: -0.006, 0.22, p=.04). No other CM types were significantly related to adolescent weapon carriage in adjusted models. These results underscore the importance of child physical abuse prevention in preventing this type of delinquent behavior in adolescence.