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J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2003 Oct;24(5):352-8.

Effects of gun admonitions on the behaviors and attitudes of school-aged boys.

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Department of Psychology, Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, FL 33711, USA.


Gun-safety programs frequently warn children not to touch guns with little consideration that the messages may enhance the allure of the guns. In the current study, boys rated and ranked their preference for a gun in comparison with other desirable objects. One week later, when left alone in the room with the objects, they were forbidden to touch either the gun or some other object. Observations of their behavior and reevaluation of their attitudes followed. Although the boys forbidden to touch the gun did not report an increased preference for it, all participants were significantly more likely to touch the forbidden gun than to touch other forbidden objects. Age, parent- and coach-reported simulated gun-play, and coach-reported risky behavior predicted gun-touching behavior. The results of the current study indicate that guns hold a unique allure and cast further doubt on the ability of gun admonitions to keep children safe around guns.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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