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, 30 (6), 741-8

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

A L Beautrais et al. Aust N Z J Psychiatry.

Abstract

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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