Access to firearms and the risk of suicide: A case control study

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Access to firearms and the risk of suicide: A case control study

Category: Firearm Availability, International, Suicide|Journal: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry|Author: A Beautrais, P Joyce, R Mulder|Year: 1996

Objective

This study examined the association between access to a firearm and risk of suicide in a consecutive sample of individuals who had made serious suicide attempts.

Method

The study used a case control design in which a sample of 197 individuals who died by suicide and 302 individuals who made medically serious suicide attempts was contrasted with 1028 randomly selected community control subjects.

Results

Suicide attempts by gunshot accounted for 1.3% of all serious suicide attempts (with non-fatal outcome) and 13.3% of suicides. However, among those making serious suicide attempts, gunshot had a high rate of fatality (83.3%). While access to a firearm was associated with increased risks that gunshot would be chosen as the method of suicide attempt (OR = 107.9; CI = 24.8-469.5), this access was not associated with significant increases in the risk of suicide (OR = 1.4; CI = 0.96-1.99).

Conclusions

For this sample, access to a firearm was not associated with a significant increase in the risk of suicide, although such access was associated with an increased probability that gunshot would be chosen as the method of suicide attempt.

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