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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Iowa: Study Examines Homicide-Suicide Incidents Involving Firearms

A recent study from researchers at the University of Iowa and Purdue University examined incidents of homicide-suicide from 2013 to 2016 to compare proportions of incidents that included a firearm to non-firearm incidents by incident, victim, and perpetrator characteristics.

The study, published in the August 2019 Journal of Behavioral Medicine was authored by Dr. Laura Schwab Reese, assistant professor of health and kinesiology at Purdue University College of Health and Human Sciences, and Dr. Corinne Peek-Asa, professor of occupational and environmental health at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.

The researchers accessed data for this analysis through a restricted access agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS).

According to the data, firearm-related injuries were the most frequent cause of death for victims (85.6 percent) as well as perpetrators (89.5 percent). Women, Hispanic individuals, individuals with a current mental health issue, and individuals with recent depression symptoms had lower odds of using a firearm, as did perpetrators who killed both an intimate partner and other family member.

The study concludes that despite these differences, the overwhelming majority of homicide-suicide deaths involved firearms, which supports the need for adequate, appropriate firearm control measures to prevent these tragedies. The authors also note that homicide-suicide incidents may be distinct from homicide and from suicide deaths so careful consideration and evaluation of intervention strategies may be necessary.

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