Prevalence of State Firearm Mortality and Mental Health Care Resources

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Prevalence of State Firearm Mortality and Mental Health Care Resources

Category: Firearm Availability, Homicide, Suicide|Journal: Journal of Community Health|Author: A Mrdjenovich, J Dake, J Price|Year: 2009

A disproportionate share of firearm suicides and homicides are committed by individuals who have a psychiatric diagnosis, many with a history of substance abuse. This study assessed whether selected variables that potentially indicate increased access to mental health care or known demographic risk factors for firearm trauma best predicted state variations in firearm homicide and suicide. Partial correlation coefficients indicated that the proportion of the population within a given state that was African American or Hispanic was significantly associated with increased state firearm homicides. The percent of the population within a given state that had earned a Baccalaureate degree was associated with decreased state firearm homicides. Additionally, increased state firearm ownership rates were significantly associated with firearm suicides, while state educational expenditures were associated with a significant reduction in firearm suicides. The findings suggest that mental health resources within a state have minimal association with firearm homicide and suicide rates. However, state levels of educational achievement and educational expenditures reduce firearm mortality.

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