Suicidal Behavior and Firearm Access: Results from the Second Injury Control and Risk Survey

Authors

  • Marian E. Betz MD, MPH,

    1. Marian E. Betz, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Colorado Denver; Catherine Barber and Matthew Miller, Harvard Injury Control Research Center, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA.
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  • Catherine Barber MPA,

    1. Marian E. Betz, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Colorado Denver; Catherine Barber and Matthew Miller, Harvard Injury Control Research Center, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA.
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  • Matthew Miller MD, MPH, ScD

    1. Marian E. Betz, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Colorado Denver; Catherine Barber and Matthew Miller, Harvard Injury Control Research Center, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA.
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  • Presented at the 2010 American Public Health Association annual meeting

  • This study was funded through internal departmental funds.

Address correspondence to Marian E. Betz, MD, MPH, University of Colorado Denver, 12401 E. 17th Ave B-215, Aurora, CO 80045, USA; E-mail: marian.betz@ucdenver.edu

Abstract

The association between home firearms and the likelihood and nature of suicidal thoughts and plans was examined using the Second Injury Control and Risk Survey, a 2001–2003 representative telephone survey of U.S. households. Of 9,483 respondents, 7.4% reported past-year suicidal thoughts, 21.3% with a plan. Similar proportions of those with and without a home firearm reported suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempts. Among respondents with suicidal plans, the odds of reporting a plan involving a firearm were over seven times greater among those with firearms at home, compared with those without firearms at home. The results suggest people with home firearms may not be more likely to be suicidal, but when suicidal they may be more likely to plan suicide by firearm.

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