Differentiating suicide decedents who died using firearms from those who died using other methods

Michael D. Anestis, Lauren R. Khazem, Joye C. Anestis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Studies have documented a link between gun ownership and suicide, but little is known about characteristics of those most likely to use a gun in a suicide attempt rather than alternative methods. We examined which factors differentiate suicide decedents who died using a gun from those who died by other methods. We further examined whether such findings are consistent within the subcomponent of our larger sample comprised entirely of gun owning suicide decedents. Data reflect 267 suicide decedents, with data provided by individuals who identified as having lost someone to suicide (loss survivors). Within the full sample, a higher proportion of gun-owning and male suicide decedents died by firearm. Further, individuals who had previously discussed suicide or engaged in one or more non-lethal suicide attempts were less likely to die by suicide using a gun. Within the subsample of gun owning suicide decedents, a greater proportion of decedents who stored guns at home and in unsecure locations died from self-inflected gunshot wounds. These findings add clarity to the relationship between firearm ownership and death by suicide at the individual level. Furthermore, these findings are consistent with the notion that means safety implementation may represent a vital suicide prevention tool.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-28
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry Research
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


  • Firearms
  • Guns
  • Suicide


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