Household Gun Ownership and Youth Suicide Rates at the State Level, 2005-2015

Am J Prev Med. 2019 Mar;56(3):335-342. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2018.10.027. Epub 2019 Jan 17.


Introduction: Determining whether the prevalence of gun ownership is associated with youth suicide is critical to inform policy to address this problem. The objective of this study is to investigate the relationship between the prevalence of household gun ownership in a state and that state's rate of youth suicide.

Methods: This study, conducted in 2018, involved a secondary analysis of state-level data for the U.S. using multivariable linear regression. The relationship between the prevalence of household gun ownership and youth (aged 10-19 years) suicide rates was examined in a time-lagged analysis of state-level household gun ownership in 2004 and youth suicide rates in the subsequent decade (2005-2015), while controlling for the prevalence of youth suicide attempts and other risk factors.

Results: Household gun ownership was positively associated with the overall youth suicide rate. For each 10 percentage-point increase in household gun ownership, the youth suicide rate increased by 26.9% (95% CI=14.0%, 39.8%).

Conclusions: Because states with high levels of household gun ownership are likely to experience higher youth suicide rates, these states should be especially concerned about implementing programs and policies to ameliorate this risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Firearms / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Firearms / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult