What is the purpose of this study?
Psychiatrists and psychologists are often asked to render opinions as to who should or should not carry a firearm. However, there is almost no research data to indicate how psychiatric symptoms influence the ability to appropriately use a weapon. This study is trying to figure out how psychological symptoms, medications, and parameters such as reaction time, impulsivity, and hand steadiness influence performance with a firearm in a military situation.
Who is eligible to participate?
This study is trying to enroll a wide range of people, both those who are receiving mental health treatment, and those who have never seen a psychologist or psychiatrist. Individuals ages 18-65 are eligible. We have to exclude individuals with a history of bipolar disorder, psychosis, suicidal thinking that involves a firearm, or seizures. Also, because it might bias the results, we can’t include those who own the video game we use to test firearms performance. Other than that, pretty much anyone who can legally get on base at Naval Medical Center San Diego is welcome.
What does the study involve?
We ask a number of questions about your history of mental health treatment, take a computerized test that measures your reaction time and other parameters, and then have you play a video game that involves shooting. In the game, you must make choices as to when it is appropriate to shoot or not, and be able to do so as fast and accurately as possible. Ideally, we would like you to participate in two assessments, each about an hour each, spaced one month apart.
Do I have to pay for this, or will I be paid to participate? Participating is free, and likewise no payment is offered to participants.
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