Personality Disorders
Why Teenagers Carry Weapons
Mar 31, 2005 - 9:05:38 PM

Teenagers who carry weapons tend to be more irresponsible, be involved in other delinquent behaviours or have a fascination with aggressive display.

This is the conclusion of Joanna Barlas of Glasgow Caledonian University who investigated the factors that predict whether a teenager will carry weapons. She revealed her findings on Wednesday 23 March 2005, at the Division of Forensic Psychology Annual Conference at the TechnoCentre, Coventry University Technology Park

The researcher assessed the attitudes of 121 adolescents in England and Scotland towards a range of topics, including weapons. She found there were four factors which predicted weapon carrying: identity, delinquency, conscientiousness and military interest.

Most of those teenagers who carried weapons said they took part in other delinquent behaviour such as vandalism, theft and fighting. Some also expressed fascination in topics such as mercenaries and the Armed Forces. For others, their irresponsible attitude towards life might prevent them from abiding by certain social standards and from understanding the potential consequences of carrying a weapon.

Interestingly, the teenagers did not say they carried a weapon as a status symbol or to look cool, however this is the image, the "identity", they project to their peers who do not carry weapons.

Ms Barlas said: "Schools and youth groups need to be aware that weapon carrying is not confined to a particular group within society¬Ö.. it is not just the delinquent teenagers who are carrying weapons."

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