Differentiating Suicide Decedents Who Died By Firearm Verse Hanging

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This present study sought to examine how demographics and the availability of means for suicide converge to impact method selection between firearms and hanging, which are the two most lethal and commonly used methods for suicide in the United States. Data were collected as part of a larger online study that gathered information about suicide decedents and the circumstances around their death from family members and friends; the most common sources being parents, friends, and other family members. This study used data from those who died by suicide by firearm or hanging (n = 149); and was restricted to those who identified as male and white. The study examined if age, education, marital status, military affiliation, and firearm ownership impacted method selection. Results indicated that age and owning a firearm were associated with using a firearm in a suicide death. Additionally, those who used a firearm were significantly younger and more likely to own a firearm than those who used another method; and those who died by hanging were significantly younger than those who used another method. Findings from this study can be leveraged to improve the effectiveness of means safety efforts and create more personalised public health messages on firearm safe storage.



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