Firearm Access and Suicidal Crises among Young Adults Experiencing Homelessness in the United States: A Lethal Intersection

Anthony Fulginiti, Hsun Ta Hsu, Jarrod Call, Robin Petering, Diane Santa Maria, Jama Shelton, Sarah C. Narendorf, Kristin M. Ferguson, Kimberly Bender, Anamika Barman-Adhikari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Young adults experiencing homelessness (YAEH) report high rates of suicidal crises. Having access to firearms during suicidal crises elevates risk of death by suicide. Yet, no known information exists about firearm access among YAEH. Aims: We aimed to examine the proportion of participants who had firearm access, as well as the association between past-year suicidal crises and firearm access among participants. Method: We recruited 1,426 YAEH (18-26 years old) from homelessness service settings in seven US cities. Logistic regression analyses were used to examine the association between past-year suicidal crises and firearm access. Results: One third of the sample reported having easy firearm access. YAEH who experienced suicidal ideation and suicide attempts were more likely to report firearm access. Limitations: Results from this cross-sectional study cannot be causally interpreted nor generalized to all YAEH. Conclusion: A substantial segment of YAEH had easy firearm access and it was more common for YAEH with suicidal crises to have firearm access. Reducing firearm access should be part of suicide prevention planning for YAEH in the US but requires comprehensive and innovative solutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCrisis
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • firearm
  • homeless
  • suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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