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Psychology Professor Eric Mankowski co-authors national report on gun violence
Author: Suzanne Pardington, University Communications
Posted: December 12, 2013

Portland State University Professor Eric Mankowski contributed to a new national report on predicting and preventing gun violence released Dec. 12 by the American Psychological Association.

The report, entitled Gun Violence: Prediction, Prevention, and Policy, concludes there is no way to reliably predict who will commit acts of gun violence like those at Sandy Hook Elementary School and at Clackamas Town Center a year ago. But there are effective prevention tools, such as teams of trained experts who can assess whether a person is on a path to violence. 

Mankowski, associate chair of PSU’s psychology department, was on a task force of experts asked to summarize the psychological research on gun violence and recommend ways to reduce it.

In the report, Mankowski highlights the number of gun homicides and suicides perpetrated by men and writes that prevention efforts and policies need to address how boys and men are socialized into a violent form of masculinity. 

“Any account of gun violence in the United States must be able to explain both why men are perpetrators of the vast majority of gun violence and why the vast majority of males never perpetrate gun violence,” he writes in the report. 

“Preliminary evidence suggests that changing young men’s perceptions of social norms about behaviors and characteristics associated with masculinity may reduce the prevalence of intimate partner and sexual violence. But such interventions need to be further tested for their potential to reduce gun violence."

The report also concludes:

  • Access to mental health care can help prevent gun violence, but will not solve the problem alone. 
  • A focus on family and community environments, care for troubled individuals and early intervention with at-risk families can help prevent violence. 
  • Communities should take a comprehensive, coordinated approach to violence prevention involving law enforcement, educators and mental health providers.

Go here for the APA’s full news release about the report. 

A copy of the report is here.