Suicide and firearm prevalence: are youth disproportionately affected?

Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2001 Fall;31(3):303-10. doi: 10.1521/suli.31.3.303.24243.


The effect of firearm availability on suicide may differ among age groups. We used regression analysis to examine the relationship between suicide rates and household firearm ownership for four age groups in the nine census regions from 1979 to 1994, adjusting for regional divorce rates, education, unemployment, and urbanicity. Results showed that firearm ownership levels are correlated with suicide rates among 15- to 24-year-olds and 65- to 84-year-olds, but not among 25-to 64-year-olds. The findings suggest that if the relationship is causal, a 10% fall in regional firearm ownership levels would lead to a 3.0% decrease in suicide rates.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Firearms*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Suicide / psychology*