In the January 2016 issue of Epidemiology, Doug Wiebe, PhD, UPenn PRC Training Core Lead, and other health researchers from the University of Pennsylvania analyze detailed activity paths of urban youth to investigate the interplay between their lived experiences, time spent in different environments, and risk of violent assault.


Since gunshot violence is now the leading cause of death among 10- to 24-year-old African American males and the second-leading cause of death among all males in that age group in the United States, identifying the factors in exposure to violence by guns and other weapons is critical. A key finding is that location matters.


Building on research which suggests youth violence is the end result of a web of factors that include alcohol use, access to firearms, and disadvantaged urban environments, Wiebe and his co-authors developed a new approach for studying the dynamics of activities in an urban environment. They found that the context of young people’s activities and characteristics of the places they spent time put them at risk to be assaulted or protected them from being assaulted, and certain activities appeared to trigger the onset of assault.