Sample Literature Review Paper on Using Motivational Interviewing to Curtail Gun Violence

Using Motivational Interviewing to Curtail Gun Violence


Gun violence is a catastrophe affecting aver 500 people’s lives globally. Gun-related violence threatens fundamental human rights of life and safety. In the US, gun violence has been on the rise affecting mainly the marginalized communities such as; people of color and women. Two study publications relatable to violence mitigation have been featured in this study. Prevention policies to prevent and address gun violence can help guarantee families and communities safety. The findings in a peer-reviewed literature of the two studies have been presented in the first part of the study. The second part summarizes the literature review of the two studies and the relevance of the topic to my course.

Part 1: Findings in the study

Wong & Gordon (2013) use the Violence Reduction Program (VRP) that disrupts, and modify emotions and behaviors that impact and maintain violence. Participants in the study are medium- to high-risk non-sexual violent offenders and forensic patients. The VRP is delivered in three phases using the incremental learning approach. Phase 1 identifies the treatment target, Phase 2 implements acquisition of skills to manage violence and Phase 3 which is practice of the skills acquired in phase 2. Success in the VRP program is weighted on achievement of specific goals and objectives measured using the Violence Risk Scale (VRS).

In the study by Cunningham et al., (2012), patients in Emergency Department (ED) 14-18 years of age were admitted in a randomized control trial. In the randomized control trial, random assignment and assessment was computerized and relied on Computer-administered Brief Intervention CBI and Therapist-administered Brief Intervention TBI. In the randomized control trial by Cunningham et al. (2012), age, gender, race, and ethnicity diversity were considered when selecting participants. In the randomized control trial, violence and alcohol abuse were used to measure results. Brief interventions among the urban adolescents to reduce alcohol and violence for 12 months in Cunningham et al., (2012) study.

Wong & Gordon (2013) use the Stage of Change Model to measure participant’s preparedness for treatment. At the end of treatment, Stage of Change for every participant is reassessed to measure quantitative reduction in violence risk (Wong & Gordon 2013). In Wong & Gordon (2013) case, two profiles are used 918 medium- to high-risk non-sexual offenders from Canada and 65 psychopaths for fidelity. The VRP uses a goal based rather than a session- based approach to deliver treatment and measure performance. Adolescents who displayed any signs of medical instability or abnormality were excluded in the emergency department ED (Cunningham et al., 2012). Adolescents displaying past-year aggressive behaviors and alcohol consumption at least twice or thrice in the past year were eligible for the RCT.

In the Wong & Gordon (2013) study, motivational interviewing is used alongside Multisystemic Therapy (MT), Aggression Replacement Training (ART), Relapse Prevention (RP), and the Transtheoretical Model (TM). The RCT by Cunningham et al. (2012) utilized Brief Intervention in the program. The Violence Risk Scale VRS used by Wong & Gordon (2013), identified 30-60% incidence in the treatment targets. To accommodate participants with diverse needs, the VRP is sufficiently flexible. The Brief Interventions method used by Cunningham et al. (2012), empirically reduced peer aggression and alcohol abuse.

The findings will acknowledge me on the most effective intervention strategy in reducing violence. The findings of these study inform me how I can use motivational interviewing in my practice to curtail gun violence. The use of Motivational Interviewing alone is however not sufficient intervention method considering heterogeneity of the individuals (Wong & Gordon, 2013). From the outcomes of these studies, I learned intervention settings, how to identify risk factors in participants and how to implement intervention strategies. Increasing incidences of gun violence drove me to study Motivation Interviewing as an intervention strategy. The outcomes of this research can be used to limit gun violence and improve the general well-being of the society.

Part 2: Summary of the literature review

The topic will enable me to pick up strategic intervention to reduce gun violence. By learning how to set up an intervention program to mitigate violence will equip me with empirical skills relevant to my practice. The topic will prepare me on how to identify risk factors and suitable demographic profile during interventions to trim gun violence. I will clearly understand how to empirically apply motivational intervention in my practice to limit violence. From this topic I will learn how to examine outcomes of an intervention through data analysis and how best to categorize data for most accurate results.

Violence is a psychiatric trait that requires treatment of the offender.  In Wong & Gordon (2013) study, medium-to high-risk offenders and forensic patients are enrolled in the VRP program. Those with cognitive disorders or APD also participate in the program because of their violent behaviors. The Psychopathy Checklist -Revised PCL-R is used to evaluate psychopathy (Wong & Gordon, 2013). To reduce violence risk in the psychopathic participants, one should focus on mitigating the criminogenic need that links them to violence (Wong & Gordon, 2013). When psychopathic offenders are at high drop-out risk, motivational interviewing should be extensively used in the program

Cunningham et al. (2012) looked for severe aggression toward peers over the past year using items from tactic scale. A binary variable (no/yes) was used to compute past-year violence and victimization among adolescents.  Cunningham et al. (2012) integrated the use of computer-based intervention and therapist-administered intervention delivery modes based on motivational interviewing to limit violence and peer aggression. SafERteens study that is relevant for urban youth was used by Cunningham et al. (2012) to evaluate the samples. SafERteens study was used to measure peer aggression, peer victimization, and violence consequences in peers. SAS was used to give the descriptive statistics and the 12-month outcomes were calculated using the generalized estimating equations (GEE).  There were no significant contrasts between age, race, and gender and hence were not included in the GEE analysis.

A total of 3338 peers were screened in the program. Of those samples726 tested positive for violence and alcohol use and only 84% completed the 12-month follow up (Cunningham et al., 2012). Samples in Cunningham et al. (2012) case was 43.5% male and 55.9% African American. TBI participants displayed a 43% reduction in severe peer violence compared to 26% reflected by the CBI and control conditions combined. There was 23% reduction in peer victimization among TBI participants compared to 17% and 12% reductions in the CBI and control conditions respectively. Participants under TBI showed 36.1% reduction in violence related consequences compared to 31% displayed by CBI and control conditions. TBI is therefore a more effective intervention model compared to CBI and control conditions.

Treatment was administered to violence prone offenders in two profiles (Wong & Gordon 2013). The VRP is delivered in group format in addition to individual efforts to participants who are not compliant to group format or face rejection by group due to capricious behavior. VRP is flexible enough to accommodate all those heterogenous people (Wong & Gordon 2013). VRP can be applicable in lock-up and psychiatric hospital settings and length of delivery hangs on participant responsivity. Implementation efficacy of VRP is determined by treatment environment, target participants, resources, recruitment and existing interventions. Staff delivering the VRP program are subjected to initial and in-service training. Multidisciplinary treatment teams worked collaboratively to achieve the VRP objectives.

In Cunningham et al. (2012) case, some 20 peers would be subjected to TBI to protect them from peer victimization and the significant reduction in violence is relatable to heightened self-motivation and self-efficacy. The therapist intervention high efficacy may be promoted by increasing motivation, self-efficacy, and improving skills for anger management and conflict resolution. TBI and CBI cover multiple-risk behaviors that can be assessed to give outcomes in the motivational interviewing.

Outcome research by (Wong & Gordon, 2013) was conducted on Aggressive Behavioral Control ABC program based on its’ extensive history and correspondence to the VRP. A sample of 31 participants enrolled in the treatment were locked up in a super-maximum-security prison for violent offences such as murder. Similar demographic and criminological features were considered. The aim was to readapt them to a regular minimum-security prison and over 80% were reintegrated successfully without going back to a maximum security later on within the 20 months follow-up period. A matched control design was used to juxtapose relapse among a gang group put through ABC program and another group with little or no treatment within 24 months. After only 8 months of treatment, the treated group recorded lowered incidences of recidivism and institutional misconducts compared to match controls. In another outcome study, 34 treated psychopaths results were compared to 34 untreated controls. The treated psychopaths showed less reoffence incidence compared to the untreated control.




Using the VRP model by is empirical in minimizing the risk of violent recidivism and institutional negligence. Offender rehabilitation prevent violence-prone offenders from recidivism and safety of the people they make contact with. VRP has been effective on hardened criminals and offenders who are potentially difficult to manage. Correction authorities may implement VRP to rectify behaviors in lock-up facilities. Brief intervention programs by the emergency department are effective to reduce violence and victimization among peers. Using CBI and TBI interventions integrated in brief interventions are effective in delivering motivational interviewing. The VRP and brief intervention models can be used to measure and curtail gun violence in the society.




Cunningham, R. M., Chermack, S. T., Zimmerman, M. A., Shope, J. T., Bingham, C. R., Blow, F. C., & Walton, M. A. (2012). Brief motivational interviewing intervention for peer violence and alcohol use in teens: one-year follow-up. Pediatrics, 129(6), 1083-1090.

Wong, S. C., & Gordon, A. (2013). The violence reduction programme: A treatment programme for violence-prone forensic clients. Psychology, Crime & Law, 19(5-6), 461-475.