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Age, Sex Factor into Firearm Use in Suicide Deaths

J Affect Disord; ePub 2018 Apr 21; Kalesan, et al

The life circumstances associated with a preference of using a firearm for suicide differ by sex and by age, according to a recent study. Researchers used suicide deaths from the National Violent Death Reporting System from 2003-2011 in 17 US states to assess the difference in the relation between 6 life circumstances and risk of firearm vs non-firearm suicides across sex and age groups. Mixed effect logistic regression models were used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals. They found:

  • The risk of using a firearm as compared to other means for suicide were greater among white, male, non-Hispanic, older (aged >50 years), and currently married US residents.
  • Among all age and sex groups, the odds of firearm use were 21-29% greater in the presence of a recent crisis.
  • Having a financial problem was significantly associated with firearm use among younger men, younger women, and older women, while physical health issues were associated with risk of firearm suicide among older men.

Kalesan B, Sampson L, Zuo Y, Galea S. Sex and age modify the relationship between life circumstances and use of a firearm in suicide deaths across 17 U.S. states. [Published online ahead of print April 21, 2018]. J Affect Disord. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2018.04.094.