University at Albany researcher Dr. Melissa Tracy has released a study asserting that a better understanding of the relationship between gun violence within social networks and individual gun violence risk is critical in preventing the spread of gun violence within communities.
The study, published online in the journal Epidemiologic Reviews, examines current scientific evidence on the transmission of gun and other weapon-related violence in household, intimate partner, peer, and co-offending social networks.
The available research suggests that gun violence diffuses — similar to an epidemic — among people and across places through social relationships. Gun violence also tends to cluster among a small fraction of the population. The authors believe that identifying and disrupting the spread of gun and other weapon violence within high-risk networks holds great potential for reducing the burden of violence and its consequences in the population, according to a systematic review of gun-violence studies.
Their review suggests that exposure to a victim or perpetrator of violence in one’s interpersonal relationships and social networks increases the risk of being a victim of gun violence or becoming a perpetrator of gun violence. Physical violence by parents and weapon use by intimate partners also increase risk for victimization and perpetration.