The Gun Behaviors and Beliefs Scale: Development of a new measure of gun behaviors and beliefs

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The Gun Behaviors and Beliefs Scale: Development of a new measure of gun behaviors and beliefs

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Category: Firearm Policies|Journal: |Author: J Constans, J Nanney, R Wamser-Nanney|Year: 2019


Gun violence is a serious public health concern that is currently grossly understudied. Gun attitudes are a potential risk factor for gun violence, yet factors relating to perceptions of guns have not been identified. Further, the existing measures of gun beliefs do not comprehensively assess gun behaviors, nor do they measure gun-related beliefs such as the perceived advantages of gun carrying and socially related gun perceptions. The purpose of this study was to develop a more complete and psychometrically sound tool to measure gun perceptions, the Gun Behaviors and Beliefs Scale (GBBS).



A total of 430 participants were recruited from a Midwestern university or Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (Mage = 30.03, SD = 12.06, range = 18–63; 58.8% female; 73.7% White) to conduct an exploratory factor analysis. A second sample of 360 participants (Mage = 28.41, SD = 11.92, range = 18–65; 56.9% female; 65% White) was used for the confirmatory factor analysis.



The exploratory factor analysis yielded 5 subscales that were largely consistent with expectations: Safety, Emotional Risk, Neighborhood Factors, Gun Presence, and Social Perceptions. The confirmatory factor analysis supported the measure’s factor structure. In both samples, the GBBS had good internal consistency (range αs = .79–.96) and demonstrated evidence of convergent and divergent validity. The GBBS Gun Belief subscales corresponded with reported gun behaviors among gun owners.



The study resulted in the development of a novel self-report measure of both gun behaviors and gun beliefs that may be useful in researching gun behavior, aggression, and gun violence. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)

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