Understanding Pediatric Residents’ Communication Decisions Regarding Anticipatory Guidance About Firearms

Elizabeth A. Johnson-Young, D. I.A.N.E. McDonald, Tierra Burrell, Yan Wang, Daon Juang, Dana Silver, Richard Lichenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 2014, guns were the second leading cause of death among children and teens in the U.S. and it was previously found that approximately 33% of children live in homes with a firearm (Schuster et al., 2000). Currently, the AAP recommends pediatricians address firearms and firearm safety with patients; however, available research regarding the methods pediatricians use to communicate with patients regarding firearms and the influences on decision making is mixed and in need of more studies. Utilizing concepts from the theory of planned behavior and the health belief model, this paper presents findings from an online survey of medical doctors in several pediatric residency programs and seeks to identify the influences on prioritization of firearm safety in one’s anticipatory guidance. Findings indicate that many residents do not counsel on firearm safety during well child visits. Further, prioritization is influenced by comfort, training, and confidence. Gender differences were also found, wherein women are more likely to indicate that firearm safety is as important as other anticipatory guidance messages, but also indicate less confidence in abilities to counsel. Theoretical and practical implications, including possibilities for future research and interventions, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-250
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of health communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 3 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Library and Information Sciences


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