Factors associated with suicide by firearm among U.S. older adult men

Mark S. Kaplan, Nathalie Huguet, Bentson H. McFarland, Jessie A. Mandle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Suicide is a leading cause of death in older adulthood, and most (80%) older men who die of suicide do so with firearms. This paper examines a number of risk factors and precipitating circumstances that contribute to suicidal behavior involving firearms among men aged 65 and older. Data were obtained from the 2003 to 2007 National Violent Death Reporting System restricted access database. Using multivariate logistic regression, a model was developed to differentiate older male suicide decedents who used firearms from those who used other suicide methods. The results show that the presence of a health problem at the time of death was one of the best predictors of suicide with a firearm. Place of suicide (predominantly rural) and veteran status further increased likelihood of firearm use among older men. Suicides occurring in mostly rural counties and in the South were significantly more likely to involve firearms. We conclude with a discussion of the implications for suicide researchers, clinicians, policymakers, and men and masculinity scholars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-74
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology of Men and Masculinity
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Firearm
  • Men
  • Older age
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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