Suicidal Behavior Detection in Gun Owners
Suicidal ideation and behavior in individuals who are gun owners vs non-gun owners may be less likely to be detected by screening tools.
Researchers conducted a cross-sectional survey study examining patterns of passive and active suicidal ideation, suicidal planning, and suicidal behavior among gun owners and non-gun owners. These outcomes were measured by the Self-Injurious Thoughts and Behaviors Interview-Revised (SITBI-R).
Included were 9153 individuals who completed an online survey between March 2020 and April 2020. Of the total participants, 30.3% (n=2773) owned a gun. All participants were assigned to classes based on posterior probabilities through a simple latent class analysis.
The results indicate that the probability of SITBI-R item endorsement differed across sub-groups between gun owners and non-gun owners. Gun owners in class 4 had the highest probability of past-month nonfatal suicide attempts, with 16.8% of these individuals reaching out for help and 27.2% starting before changing their mind. This subgroup also had the highest probability of endorsing thoughts about specific ways or methods to attempt suicide and preparatory behavior (both 100%).
In non-gun owners, the highest probability of nonfatal suicide attempts was observed in group 5, with 14.9% reaching out for help and 29.7% starting before changing their mind. The highest probability of characteristics for this group included endorsing passive suicidal ideation (84.0%-100%), active suicidal ideation (86.7%-95.0%), thoughts about specific ways or methods to attempt suicide (97.4%) and a specific place to attempt suicide (92.1%).
“In this study, in subgroups with lower probabilities of suicide attempt, gun owner and non-gun owners showed similar patterns of suicide risk item endorsement, but when the probability of a suicide attempt increased, gun owners were less likely than non-gun owners to endorse passive and active suicidal ideation,” researchers concluded.
“These finding suggest that assessing a broader range of suicide risk indicators may improve risk detection.”
Bryan CJ, Bryan AO, Wastler H, et al. Assessment of latent subgroups with suicidal ideation and suicidal behavior among gun owners and non-gun owners in the US. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(5):e2211510. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.11510