Embargoed AJPH Research: School Bullying and Fighting, Smoke-Free Impacts, Firearm Safety Laws

Released: 14-Apr-2014 1:20 PM EDT
Embargo expired: 17-Apr-2014 4:00 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: American Public Health Association (APHA)
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EMBARGOED UNTIL April 17, 2013, 4 p.m. (EDT)

American Journal of Public Health highlights:

1. Latest trends show decrease in school-aged bullying and fighting, uptick among white students carrying weapons
2. Smoke-free communities associated with fewer COPD hospitalizations
3. Stronger state firearm safety laws are connected to lower firearm ownership

Latest trends show decrease in school-aged bullying and fighting, uptick among white students carrying weapons
New research from the American Journal of Public Health finds a decrease in bullying and physical fighting among middle and high school students. However, the prevalence of carrying weapons increased among white students.

Using survey data from the Health Behavior in School-Aged Children study, researchers analyzed trends in bullying, physical fighting and carrying of weapons among sixth- through 10th-grade students between 1998 and 2010.

Results indicated that bullying declined significantly along with physical fighting, which had a less dramatic decrease. While collectively there was no decline in weapon carrying, there was an increase in carrying weapons among white students.

“This trend is surprising when one considers that white students had the largest declines in bullying and physical fighting over the same time period,” the authors expound.

“The overall decrease in bullying and victimization may be attributed to two related factors, an increasing recognition of the need for bullying prevention programs, and the increased number of evidence-based bullying prevention programs,” the researchers suggest.

[“Trends in bullying, physical fighting and weapon carrying among 6th- through 10th-grade students from 1998 to 2010: Findings from a national study,” Contact: Jessamyn Perlus, BA, Division of Intramural Population Health Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md., jessamyn.perlus@nih.gov.]

Smoke-free communities associated with fewer COPD hospitalizations
Individuals living in communities with comprehensive smoke-free laws or regulations are 22 percent less likely to be hospitalized for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to new research from the American Journal of Public Health.

The study compared patient discharge data between 2003 and 2011 against compiled local smoke-free laws collected from the Smoke-free Ordinance database from the Kentucky Center for Smoke-free Policy.

Findings from the study indicate a 22 percent decrease in likelihood of being hospitalized for COPD for those who live in communities with comprehensive smoke-free laws or regulations compared to those that have moderate, weak or no laws. Further, living in a community with an established law resulted in a 21 percent less likelihood of experiencing hospitalization due to COPD.

“Smoke-free public policies, particularly when they are comprehensive and have been in place for at least one year, may provide protection against exacerbations of COPD that lead to hospitalizations, with potential to save live and decrease health care costs,” explain the authors.

“Given that such a high percentage of Kentuckians live in at-risk rural areas and lack the protective factor of income or smoke-free laws, the state faces a higher risk of COPD,” they suggest.

[“Fewer hospitalizations for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in communities with smoke-free public policies,” Contact: Ellen Hahn, PhD, RN FAAN, Tobacco Policy Research Program, University of Kentucky College of Nursing, Lexington, Ky., ejhahn00@email.uky.edu.]

Stronger state firearm safety laws are connected to lower firearm ownership
New research from the American Journal of Public Health finds that stronger firearm and child access prevention state laws are associated with the presence of firearm safety, such as safely storing guns, and lower ownership of firearms.

Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Birth Cohort, researchers reviewed data from more than 8,000 children of preschool age and their parents. Within the survey, parents were asked about the presence of a firearm in their home and how it was stored. The survey data was reviewed alongside child access prevention and firearms legislation in varying states.

Results from the study indicate that 8 percent of families in states with strong firearm laws coupled with child access prevention provisions owned firearms, while in states with weaker policies and no child access laws, 24 percent of families owned firearms. Findings show that comprehensive laws that included regulations regarding children’s access to firearms were the most associated with firearm safety.

“Family firearm safety practices are a major public health concern, with firearm-related deaths being one of the leading causes of injury-related fatalities among young children,” the authors explain.

“We found that firearm safety behaviors among families with preschool-aged children were associated with state firearm policies but only in the expected direction when states had a more comprehensive array of firearm restrictions accompanied by laws that specifically targeted children’s access to firearms,” the authors conclude.

[“State firearm laws, firearm ownership and safety practices among families of preschool-aged children,” Kate Prickett, MPAff, University of Texas at Austin, Population Research Center, Austin, Texas, kate.prickett@utexas.edu.]

Find a full list of research papers to be published online on April 17, 2014, at 4 p.m. EDT below:
• Dental Therapy: Evolving in Minnesota's Safety Net
• Epidemiology of hepatitis C virus in Pennsylvania state prisons 2004-2012: Limitations of 1945-1965 birth cohort screening in correctional settings
• Cancer Incidence among Arab Americans in California, Detroit, and New Jersey SEER Registries
• Equity in the Receipt of Oseltamivir During the H1N1 Pandemic
• Factors influencing adoption and adherence to indoor smoking bans among health disparity communities
• Political Factors Affecting the Enactment of State Level Clean Indoor Air Laws
• Fewer Hospitalizations for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in Communities with Smoke-free Public Policies
• Rates Of Insurance For Injured Patients Before And After Health Care Reform In Massachusetts: Another Case Of Double Jeopardy?
• The Home Foreclosure Crisis and Rising Suicide Rates, 2005-2010
• Determinants of the Availability of Hepatitis C Testing Services in Opioid Treatment Programs: Results from a National Study
• State Firearm Laws and Firearm Ownership and Safety Practices Among Families of Preschool Age Children
• Cigarette Smoking Among Adults with Mobility Impairments: A US Population-Based Survey
• Use of a Learning Collaborative to Support Implementation of Integrated Care for Smoking Cessation for Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
• The lowering of the minimum purchase age in New Zealand is associated with a long term impact on alcohol-involved crashes
• Budget and priority setting criteria at state health agencies in times of austerity: a mixed methods study
• Trends in Bullying, Physical Fighting, and Weapon Carrying Among 6th-10th Grade Students from 1998 to 2010: Findings from a National Study
• Screen-based media use, sports participation and well-being in adolescence: cross-sectional findings from the UK Household Longitudinal Study
• Preparing for Rectal Microbicides: Sociocultural Factors Impacting Product Uptake among Potential South American Users
• A profile of southeastern lesbian, gay, and bisexual health disparities, North Carolina, 2011
• Migratory Dynamics on HIV Transmission: The Case of Mexicans in New York City and Puebla
• Sexual Orientation Disparities in STI Risk Behaviors and Risk Determinants among Sexually Active Adolescent Males: Results From a School-Based Sample
• Mediation by peer violence victimization of sexual-orientation disparities in cancer-related risk behaviors of tobacco, alcohol, and sexual risk: Pooled Youth Risk Behavior Surveys
• Sexual-orientation disparities in school: the mediational role of indicators of victimization in achievement and skipping school due to feeling unsafe
• Mental Health and Suicidality among Racially/Ethnically Diverse Sexual Minority Youth
• Sexual-orientation disparities in adolescent cigarette smoking: Intersections with race/ethnicity, gender, and age
• The Action Is Upstream: Place-Based Approaches for Achieving Population Health and Health Equity

The articles above will be published online April 17, 2014, at 4 p.m. (EDT) by the American Journal of Public Health® under “First Look” at http://www.ajph.org/first_look.shmtl. “First Look” articles have undergone peer review, copyediting and approval by authors but have not yet been printed to paper or posted online by issue. The American Journal of Public Health is published by the American Public Health Association, www.apha.org, and is available at www.ajph.org.
The American Journal of Public Health ® is the monthly journal of the American Public Health Association. APHA champions the health of all people and all communities by strengthening the profession of public health, sharing the latest research and information, promoting best practices and advocating for public health issues and policies grounded in research. More information is available at www.apha.org.

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