Factors associated with pediatric firearm injury and enrollment in a violence intervention program

Mary Elizabeth Bernardin, Joseph Moen, David Schnadower

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose: To identify factors associated with firearm injury (FI) and willingness to enroll in a violence intervention program amongst pediatric victims of violence. Methods: Cross-sectional study of victims of violence age 6–19 years presenting to a children's hospital emergency department from 2014 to 2017. Participants were interviewed by social workers prior to being offered enrollment in a violence intervention program. We used multivariate logistic regression analyses to identify factors associated with FI and enrollment in the violence intervention program. Results: Four hundred seven patients were analyzed, 156 (38%) of which were victims of FI and 251 (62%) were victims of non-firearm-related physical assaults (PA). Multiple factors were associated with FI including older adolescent age, male sex, separated/divorced parents, losses in family/social network due to violence, being on probation, illicit substance use, gang affiliation, and lack of school enrollment. One hundred four patients (26%) enrolled in the violence intervention program. There was no difference in enrollment between FI and PA. However, older adolescent age, illicit substance use and probation were associated with significantly decreased odds of enrolling in the program. Conclusions: Multiple identifiable and potentially actionable risk factors exist amongst pediatric victims of acute FI. More specific targeting of at-risk groups may improve enrollment in violence interventions programs. Level of Evidence: This is a prognostic study, investigating the natural history of pediatric firearm injuries, factors associated with firearm injuries as well as those associated with patient propensity to enroll in a violence intervention program. This study is observational in nature and utilizes patients with non-firearm-related physical assaults as a control group, making this study Level III evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)754-759
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Firearm injury
  • Gun violence
  • Pediatric emergency department
  • Pediatric interpersonal violence
  • Risk factors
  • Violence intervention program


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