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Austrian firearm legislation and its effects on suicide and homicide mortality: A natural quasi-experiment amidst the global economic crisis.
Eur Psychiatry 2018; 52:104-112EP

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Restriction of access to suicide methods has been shown to effectively reduce suicide mortality rates.

AIMS

To examine how the global economic crisis of 2008 and the firearm legislation reform of 1997 affected suicide and homicide mortality rate within Austria.

METHODS

Official data for the years 1985-2016 for firearm certificates, suicide, homicide, unemployment rates and alcohol consumption were examined using auto regressive error and Poisson regression models.

RESULTS

Firearm certificates, total suicide mortality rate, suicide and homicides by firearms, and the fraction of firearm suicides/homicides among all suicides/homicides decreased after the firearm legislation reform in 1997. However, significant trend changes can be observed after 2008. The availability of firearm certificates significantly increased and was accompanied by significant changes in trends of firearm suicide and homicide rates. Concurrently, the total suicide mortality rate in 2008, for the first time since 1985, stopped its decreasing trend. While the total homicide rate further decreased, the fraction of firearm homicides among all homicides significantly increased.

CONCLUSION

The initially preventative effect of the firearm legislation reform in Austria in 1997 seems to have been counteracted by the global economic downturn of 2008. Increased firearm availability was associated with corresponding increases in both firearm suicide and firearm homicide mortality. Restrictive firearm legislation should be an imperative part of a country's suicide prevention programme. Although firearm legislation reform may have long-lasting effects, societal changes may facilitate compensatory firearm acquisitions and thus counteract preventive efforts, calling in turn again for adapted counter-measures.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Clinical Division of Social Psychiatry, University Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Medical University of Vienna, Austria. Electronic address: Daniel.koenig@meduniwien.ac.at.Clinical Division of Social Psychiatry, University Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Medical University of Vienna, Austria.School of Community and Environmental Health, Old Dominion University, USA.Center for Medical Statistics, Informatics, and Intelligent Systems, Section for Medical Statistics, Medical University of Vienna, Austria.Slovene Centre for Suicide Research, Andreij Marusic Insitute, University of Primorska, Slovenia.Suicide Research Group, University Department of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, Medical University of Vienna, Austria. Electronic address: Nestor.kapusta@meduiniwien.ac.at.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

29777938

Citation

König, Daniel, et al. "Austrian Firearm Legislation and Its Effects On Suicide and Homicide Mortality: a Natural Quasi-experiment Amidst the Global Economic Crisis." European Psychiatry : the Journal of the Association of European Psychiatrists, vol. 52, 2018, pp. 104-112.
König D, Swoboda P, Cramer RJ, et al. Austrian firearm legislation and its effects on suicide and homicide mortality: A natural quasi-experiment amidst the global economic crisis. Eur Psychiatry. 2018;52:104-112.
König, D., Swoboda, P., Cramer, R. J., Krall, C., Postuvan, V., & Kapusta, N. D. (2018). Austrian firearm legislation and its effects on suicide and homicide mortality: A natural quasi-experiment amidst the global economic crisis. European Psychiatry : the Journal of the Association of European Psychiatrists, 52, pp. 104-112. doi:10.1016/j.eurpsy.2018.04.006.
König D, et al. Austrian Firearm Legislation and Its Effects On Suicide and Homicide Mortality: a Natural Quasi-experiment Amidst the Global Economic Crisis. Eur Psychiatry. 2018;52:104-112. PubMed PMID: 29777938.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Austrian firearm legislation and its effects on suicide and homicide mortality: A natural quasi-experiment amidst the global economic crisis. AU - König,Daniel, AU - Swoboda,Patrick, AU - Cramer,Robert J, AU - Krall,Christoph, AU - Postuvan,Vita, AU - Kapusta,Nestor D, Y1 - 2018/05/25/ PY - 2018/02/27/received PY - 2018/04/24/revised PY - 2018/04/25/accepted PY - 2018/5/20/pubmed PY - 2019/3/21/medline PY - 2018/5/20/entrez KW - Epidemiology KW - Firearms KW - Homicide KW - Socioeconomics KW - Suicide SP - 104 EP - 112 JF - European psychiatry : the journal of the Association of European Psychiatrists JO - Eur. Psychiatry VL - 52 N2 - BACKGROUND: Restriction of access to suicide methods has been shown to effectively reduce suicide mortality rates. AIMS: To examine how the global economic crisis of 2008 and the firearm legislation reform of 1997 affected suicide and homicide mortality rate within Austria. METHODS: Official data for the years 1985-2016 for firearm certificates, suicide, homicide, unemployment rates and alcohol consumption were examined using auto regressive error and Poisson regression models. RESULTS: Firearm certificates, total suicide mortality rate, suicide and homicides by firearms, and the fraction of firearm suicides/homicides among all suicides/homicides decreased after the firearm legislation reform in 1997. However, significant trend changes can be observed after 2008. The availability of firearm certificates significantly increased and was accompanied by significant changes in trends of firearm suicide and homicide rates. Concurrently, the total suicide mortality rate in 2008, for the first time since 1985, stopped its decreasing trend. While the total homicide rate further decreased, the fraction of firearm homicides among all homicides significantly increased. CONCLUSION: The initially preventative effect of the firearm legislation reform in Austria in 1997 seems to have been counteracted by the global economic downturn of 2008. Increased firearm availability was associated with corresponding increases in both firearm suicide and firearm homicide mortality. Restrictive firearm legislation should be an imperative part of a country's suicide prevention programme. Although firearm legislation reform may have long-lasting effects, societal changes may facilitate compensatory firearm acquisitions and thus counteract preventive efforts, calling in turn again for adapted counter-measures. SN - 1778-3585 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/29777938/Austrian_firearm_legislation_and_its_effects_on_suicide_and_homicide_mortality:_A_natural_quasi_experiment_amidst_the_global_economic_crisis_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0924-9338(18)30090-7 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -