Clinician Attitudes, Screening Practices, and Interventions to Reduce Firearm-Related Injury

Roszko, P. J., Ameli, J., Carter, P. M., Cunningham, R. M., & Ranney, M. L. (2016). Clinician attitudes, screening practices, and interventions to reduce firearm-related injuryEpidemiologic reviews38(1), 87-110.


Firearm injury is a leading cause of injury-related morbidity and mortality in the United States. We sought to systematically identify and summarize existing literature on clinical firearm injury prevention screening and interventions. We conducted a systematic search of PubMed, Web of Science, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), PsycInfo, and for English-language original research (published 1992-2014) on clinical screening methods, patient-level firearm interventions, or patient/provider attitudes on the same. Unrelated studies were excluded through title, abstract, and full-text review, and the remaining articles underwent data abstraction and quality scoring. Of a total of 3,260 unique titles identified, 72 were included in the final review. Fifty-three articles examined clinician attitudes/practice patterns; prior training, experience, and expectations correlated with clinicians’ regularity of firearm screening. Twelve articles assessed patient interventions, of which 6 were randomized controlled trials. Seven articles described patient attitudes; all were of low methodological quality. According to these articles, providers rarely screen or counsel their patients-even high-risk patients-about firearm safety. Health-care-based interventions may increase rates of safe storage of firearms for pediatric patients, suicidal patients, and other high-risk groups. Some studies show that training clinicians can increase rates of effective firearm safety screening and counseling. Patients and families are, for the most part, accepting of such screening and counseling. However, the current literature is, by and large, not high quality. Rigorous, large-scale, adequately funded studies are needed.

Keywords: firearms; injury prevention; suicide; systematic review; violence.