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Journal Article

Citation

Karras E, Stokes CM, Warfield SC, Barth SK, Bossarte RM. Soc. Sci. Med. 2019; ePub(ePub): ePub.

Affiliation

Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention, Department of Veterans Affairs, Canandaigua VA, Medical Center, 400 Fort Hill Avenue, Canandaigua, NY 14424, USA; Injury Control Research Center, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA; Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA; Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry, School of Medicine, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2019, Elsevier Publishing)

DOI

10.1016/j.socscimed.2019.03.001

PMID

31387766

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The objectives of this study were to determine whether short-term exposure to firearm safety messaging significantly improved (1) firearm storage practices, and (2) attitudes of safe firearm storage behaviors among U.S. veterans, a group at elevated risk for firearm suicide.

DESIGN: A three-arm, parallel-group RCT was conducted online in the U.S. nationwide from December 2015 to January 2016. SETTING: A national random sample of U.S. veterans (N = 358) was recruited from the GfK KnowledgePanel, a probability-based internet panel representative of U.S. adults. All study activities were administered online over a three-week study period. INTERVENTION: Participants were randomized and exposed three times (once per week) to either (a) firearm safety message only (n = 115); (b) firearm safety and mental health promotion messages (n = 133); or (c) active control group exposed to mental health promotion message only (n = 110). Each message was less than two minutes long. MEASURES: Assessments were completed at baseline (pre-randomization) and at end-of-trial. Changes in awareness of risk for injuries, attitudes/beliefs related to safe storage practices, behavioral intentions, and storage practices were measured using self-reported surveys. Linear mixed effect models with weighted generalized estimating equations were used to test for exposure effects. Analyses were conducted February 2018.

RESULTS: Analyses restricted to those with baseline firearm access (n = 195) identified no significant changes for intentions or safe storage practices across exposure groups. At baseline, participants' attitudes and beliefs were generally supportive of safe firearm storage. The Firearm Safety message yielded small increases in agreement with the concept that secure storage is "important during emotional or stressful times" (0.36; 95% CI = 0.08, 0.64). Other significant changes in awareness and beliefs were found, but across all study conditions.

CONCLUSION: Results reinforce the critical need for considerable research and testing prior to the widespread implementation of public messages to increase the likelihood for desired exposure effects.

Published by Elsevier Ltd.


Language: en

Keywords

Firearm suicide; Health education; Health promotion; Public health campaign; Safe firearm storage; U.S. veterans

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