Promoting gun trigger-lock use: Insights and implications from a radio-based health communication intervention

A. Roberto, G. Meyer, A. J. Johnson, C. Atkin, P. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


A radio public service announcement (PSA) focusing on the danger to children from an unlocked and loaded gun was designed and aired 340 times on three radio stations in one Michigan county. At the end of the message, individuals were given a toll-free number to call to receive a free gun trigger-lock. Three surveys were used to assess the effectiveness of this intervention: a general population telephone survey, an automated telephone survey, and a follow-up mail survey. Approximately 20 percent of individuals in the general population heard the PSA. There was a significant increase in uncued knowledge of the locking-related gun-safety practices in the treatment county between time one and time two. Further, individuals in both counties had very high levels of self-efficacy and response efficacy, moderate levels of perceived severity, and very low levels of perceived susceptibility at both points in time. Seven-hundred and ninety-nine individuals called the toll-free number to receive a free gun trigger-lock; or approximately 17 percent of gun-owning households exposed to the message. The majority of callers were males who owned guns primarily for hunting purposes and who planned to use the lock themselves. Follow-up survey results indicated that individuals were using the gun trigger-locks, and that they believed using gun trigger-locks was an easy and effective way to prevent gun injuries. Insights and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-230
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Applied Communication Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Extended parallel process model
  • Firearm safety
  • Gun trigger-lock
  • Health belief model
  • Radio PSA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics


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