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West J Emerg Med. 2018 Nov;19(6):1024-1027. doi: 10.5811/westjem.2018.7.38021. Epub 2018 Sep 10.

Gun Violence: A Biopsychosocial Disease.

Author information

Medical College of Wisconsin, Department of Emergency Medicine, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Medical College of Wisconsin, Comprehensive Injury Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Children's Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Oregon Health and Science University, Department of Surgery, Portland, Oregon.
Medical College of Wisconsin, Department of Surgery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Gun violence is a complex biopsychosocial disease and as such, requires a multidisciplinary approach to understanding and treatment. Framing gun violence as a disease places it firmly within medical and public health practice. By applying the disease model to gun violence, it is possible to explore the host, agent, and environment in which gun violence occurs, and to identify risk factors to target for prevention. This approach also provides an opportunity to address scientifically inaccurate assumptions about gun violence. In addition, there are many opportunities for medical communities to treat gun violence as a disease by considering and treating the biologic, behavioral, and social aspects of this disease. The medical community must answer recent calls to engage in gun violence prevention, and employing this model of gun violence as a biopsychosocial disease provides a framework for engagement.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Conflict of interest statement

Conflicts of Interest: By the WestJEM article submission agreement, all authors are required to disclose all affiliations, funding sources and financial or management relationships that could be perceived as potential sources of bias. No author has professional or financial relationships with any companies that are relevant to this study. There are no conflicts of interest or sources of funding to declare.

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