Managing Conflicts in Urban Communities: Youth Attitudes Regarding Gun Violence

Adam J. Milam, C. Debra Furr-Holden, Philip Leaf, Daniel Webster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gun violence remains a pressing public health concern, especially in high-risk urban environments. Community-level violence intervention efforts are being mounted in cities across the United States to prevent and reduce the most severe forms of violence. There is growing evidence to suggest the effectiveness of the Safe Streets Program/Cure Violence as a community-based intervention to reduce homicides and shootings. The mechanism underlying the reductions in community violence is theorized to be linked with changes in attitudes toward violence as well as shifts in social norms related to violence and retaliation, but there are few tools to assess these domains. This preliminary investigation sought to establish the metric properties of the Survey on Attitudes About Guns and Shootings (SAGAS) with the goal of providing an empirical measure of attitudes and community-level norms. Males aged 18 to 24 were surveyed using the SAGAS in two high-violence communities in Baltimore, Maryland, using street intercept methodology. We found acceptable reliability and validity metrics for the SAGAS. Reliability and validity of the SAGAS were assessed using internal consistency and a latent class analysis with violent behavior outcomes. The internal consistency of the total scale was in the extensive range (α =.70-.79) and the internal consistency of the factors was in the exemplary range (α ≥.80). In addition, latent classes of attitudes were predictive of being arrested or being shot. Future studies will examine if rates of violence decrease in neighborhoods targeted by the Safe Streets Program and the mediating role of attitudes toward gun violence using the SAGAS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3815-3828
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • adolescence
  • guns
  • urban
  • violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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