Experiences of violence in daily life among adults in California: a population-representative survey

Garen J. Wintemute, Amanda J. Aubel, Rocco Pallin, Julia P. Schleimer, Nicole Kravitz-Wirtz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Research on violence exposure emphasizes discrete acute events such as direct and witnessed victimization. Little is known about the broad range of experiences of violence (EVs) in daily life. This study assesses the prevalence and patterns of distribution of 6 EVs in an adult general population. Methods: California state-representative survey administered online (English and Spanish), July 14–27, 2020. Adult (age ≥ 18 years) California resident members of the Ipsos KnowledgePanel were eligible to participate. Two EVs concerned community environments: (1) the occurrence of gunshots and shootings in the neighborhood and (2) encounters with sidewalk memorials where violent deaths occurred. Four concerned social networks: direct personal knowledge of individuals who (1) had purposefully been shot by someone else or (2) had purposefully shot themselves, and direct personal knowledge of individuals whom respondents perceived to be at risk of violence, either (3) to another person or (4) to themselves. Main outcome measures, expressed as weighted percentages with 95% confidence intervals (CIs), were the prevalence and extent (or dose) of each EV and of EVs in combination and associations between EVs and respondents’ sociodemographic characteristics and firearm ownership status. Results: Of 2870 respondents (57% completion rate), 52.3% (95% CI 49.5–55.0%) were female; mean [SD] age was 47.9 [16.9] years. Nearly two-thirds (64.6%, 95% CI 61.9–67.3%) reported at least 1 EV; 11.4% (95% CI 9.7–13.2%) reported 3 or more. Gender was not associated with the prevalence of any experience. Non-owners of firearms who lived with owners reported more extensive EVs through social networks than did firearm owners or non-owners in households without firearms. Knowledge of people who had been shot by others was most common among Black respondents, 31.0% (95% CI 20.9–43.3%) of whom knew 2 or more such persons. Knowledge of people who had shot themselves was greatest among respondents aged ≥ 60 years, but knowledge of persons perceived to be at risk of violence to themselves was greatest among respondents aged 18–29 years. Conclusions and relevance: Experiences of violence in daily life are widespread. They occur in sociodemographic patterns that differ from those for direct victimization and suggest new opportunities for research and intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1
JournalInjury Epidemiology
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Age
  • Community violence
  • Exposure to violence
  • Firearm ownership
  • Firearms
  • Gender
  • Homicide
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Social networks
  • Suicide
  • Survey study
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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