Departmental Papers (SPP)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

May 2004


Objectives. We assessed the prevalence and correlates of adolescents reports regarding firearms in their homes, of their own, of close friends, and of same-aged peers.

Methods. Random-digit-dialed interviews were conducted with 5801 adolescents as part of the California Health Interview Survey.

Results. One fifth (19.6%) of California adolescents reported having a firearm in their homes; few (3.0%) reported having their own gun. Characteristics associated with having one's own gun and with perceptions regarding others' guns generally were consistent with characteristics associated with having a firearm in the home. The 2 exceptions were related to socioeconomic status and to ethnicity.

Conclusions. The source from which adolescents obtain guns, especially adolescents from less wealthy households, merits further investigation. Further research is needed to ascertain the accuracy of Black and Latino adolescents' perceptions regarding handguns among their peers.


Reprinted from American Journal of Public Health, Volume 94, Issue 5, May 2004, pages 852-858.

NOTE: At the time of publication, authors Susan B. Sorenson and Katherine A. Vittes were affiliated with the University of California. Currently (August 2007), they are faculty members in the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania.



Date Posted: 15 August 2007

This document has been peer reviewed.