Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences

Degree Program

Public Health Sciences with a specialization in Health Promotion, PhD

Committee Chair

LaJoie, A. Scott

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Kerr, Jelani

Committee Member

Kerr, Jelani

Committee Member

Cashon, Cara

Committee Member

Buchino, Susan

Committee Member

McKinney, William

Author's Keywords

Theory of planned behavior; medical errors; reporting behavior; psychological safety; hierarchy


Medical errors are a public health epidemic and a major threat to patient safety. Estimates suggest they may be responsible for 210,000 - 440,000 preventable deaths per year. This would make medical errors the third leading cause of death in the United States. The societal burden of medical errors is steep, with the economic impact near $1 trillion. The purpose of this study was to use a theory-driven approach to better understand the reporting behavior of healthcare professional. Increased error reporting leads to heightened awareness of the precursors or conditions generating errors, which can then be corrected. In its most simplistic view, reporting is tool used towards the prevention of medical errors. A health care marketing firm was hired to recruit 106 health care professionals to complete a survey on their intention to report medical errors. Random and anonymous sampling techniques were employed to help mitigate the risk associated with answering questions that may be risky and lead to social desirability bias. Regression model statistics were statistically significant in explaining 53.3% of the variance in intention scores, R2 = .533, F(8, 69) = 9.86, p β = .537, p = .001), perceived behavioral control (β = .594, p = .002), and actual behavioral control (β = 1.25, p = .005), contributed significantly to the model statistics. Psychological safety was not a significant predictor of intention. These findings suggest psychological safety may be redundant with the theory’s existing predictors, working through one or more of the theory constructs. Developing novel strategies for improving the reporting behavior of health care providers, targeting behavioral attitude and perceived behavioral control, will be essential in safeguarding the health of the public through the reduction of medical errors.