Date of Award

Summer 8-2022

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

School

Psychology

Committee Chair

Daniel Capron, PhD

Committee Chair School

Psychology

Committee Member 2

Michael Anestis, PhD

Committee Member 3

Joye Anestis, PhD

Committee Member 4

Craig Bryan, PsyD

Abstract

Safer firearm storage practices, which may reduce suicide risk, can be promoted by lethal means counseling (LMC). A recent trial found that providing a single LMC session or distributing cable locks can lead to sustained changes in firearm storage practices within a sample of firearm-owning National Guard personnel (Anestis et al., 2021). An important next step is to consider if the intervention effects may differ based on participant characteristics. One particularly relevant sociodemographic characteristic to consider is traditional masculine norms, which are evident in the military and firearm cultures and associated with several negative outcomes. The current study evaluated if overall adherence to masculinity ideology (1) is associated with firearm storages pre-intervention, (2) differentiates the effectiveness of receiving either intervention (LMC, cable locks) versus the control conditions, and (3) predicts storage changes over time among those who received the active interventions. For exploratory purposes, we examined three factors of masculinity ideology (Status, Toughness, Anti-Femininity) as predictors in our models. Results from our primary analyses did not support our hypotheses for Aims 1 and 3, suggesting that overall masculinity ideology is not associated with baseline firearm storage practices nor changes in firearm storage practices among those receiving LMC or cable locks. For Aim 2, all three-way interactions were probed regardless of statistical significance. Results suggest that neither intervention may be effective in changing rates of locking device use among those with high adherence to masculinity ideology, particularly in relation to the norms of Toughness and/or Anti-Femininity. This finding is particularly troubling given that high masculinity ideology is linked to several negative outcomes (e.g., reduced psychological help-seeking) related to suicide risk; therefore, the interventions may not be reaching those who are at higher risk for firearm suicide. While additional research is needed, these findings provide preliminary support that the interventions may need to be modified (e.g., content, who delivers the interventions) to expand their reach to individuals who strongly adhere to masculinity ideology.

Available for download on Monday, August 01, 2022

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