suicide risk

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.”

 

—Leigh Precopio

 

Reference:

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

 

 

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