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J Community Health. 2010 Feb;35(1):60-7. doi: 10.1007/s10900-009-9200-6.

Clinical psychologists' firearm risk management perceptions and practices.

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Family Studies & Social Work, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056, USA.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the current perceptions and practices of discussing firearm risk management with patients diagnosed with selected mental health problems. A three-wave survey was mailed to a national random sample of clinical psychologists and 339 responded (62%). The majority (78.5%) believed firearm safety issues were greater among those with mental health problems. However, the majority of clinical psychologists did not have a routine system for identifying patients with access to firearms (78.2%). Additionally, the majority (78.8%) reported they did not routinely chart or keep a record of whether patients owned or had access to firearms. About one-half (51.6%) of the clinical psychologists reported they would initiate firearm safety counseling if the patients were assessed as at risk for self-harm or harm to others. Almost half (46%) of clinical psychologists reported not receiving any information on firearm safety issues. Thus, the findings of this study suggest that a more formal role regarding anticipatory guidance on firearms is needed in the professional training of clinical psychologists.

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