HealthDay News — Most US adults do not agree that household firearms increase the risk of suicide, according to a research letter published online in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Andrew Conner, BS, from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues used data from a 2015 web-based survey to describe public opinion about whether household firearms increase the risk for suicide. The proportion of respondents who agreed with the statement “Having a gun in the home increases the risk of suicide” was assessed as the primary outcome. Overall, 3931 respondents were included in the final sample.
The researchers found that 15.4% of US adults agreed that the presence of a firearm in the home increases the risk of suicide (6.3%, 8.9%, and 19.8% of firearm owners, those who live with someone who owns a firearm, and those who live in a home without firearms).
Overall, 30.2% of health care practitioners agreed that suicide risk was increased with having a household firearm; 11.8% of health care practitioners who owned a firearm agreed with this statement. Fewer than 10% of gun owners with children or gun owners who had received firearm training agreed with the statement.
“Our findings suggest that medical and public health communities need to better educate at-risk patients and health care providers about how and why firearms increase the risk for suicide,” the authors write.
Conner A, Azrael D, Miller M. Public opinion about the relationship between firearm availability and suicide: results from a national survey [published online October 24, 2017]. Ann Intern Med. doi:10.7326/M17-2348