Unraveling the Complex Web of Associations Between Easy Access to Firearms and Premature Mortalities

William Feigelman, Zohn Rosen, Julie Cerel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: We investigated whether high school students reporting easy access to guns were more likely to die prematurely from either suicide, homicide, or an accidental death. Method: Based upon the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, we contrasted those reporting easy access to guns, n = 5,185, 25%, with the remaining 75% (n = 15,589) on various sociodemographic characteristics, behaviors, and premature mortalities. Results: We found higher rates of suicides, homicides, and accidental deaths among those reporting easy access to guns at Wave 1 or Wave 2. This was only true for males. Those with easy access to guns were more likely to share common sociodemographic characteristics, came from two-parent homes where children had strong and close relationships with parents, where children were more likely to get into fights, do delinquent misdeeds, and engage in other risk-taking behaviors such as increased drinking, drug use, and riding motorcycles. Logistic regression analysis showed easy access to guns remained a significant predictor of premature mortalities when sex, family income differences, risk-taking, and delinquency were used as covariates. Conclusions: This study supports previous research and carves out new ground showing easy access to guns acts synergistically with other lifestyle differences to diminish youth life chances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-291
Number of pages15
JournalSuicide and Life-Threatening Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The American Association of Suicidology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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