Advertisement

Conservative Beliefs, Male Gender, and Beliefs About Means Safety Among Firearm Owners

  • Samantha E. DaruwalaEmail author
  • Shelby L. Bandel
  • Claire Houtsma
  • Sarah E. Butterworth
  • Michael D. Anestis
Original Article

Abstract

Reducing access to highly lethal methods for suicide (i.e., means safety) has been promoted as a way to reduce suicide risk. Research by Anestis et al. (J Affect Disord 227:530–535, 2018) has demonstrated that individuals who believe firearm ownership and storage are not associated with suicide risk and that those who are prevented from utilizing a specific method for suicide will find an alternative method (i.e., means substitution) are less willing to engage in firearms means safety. Sociopolitical beliefs and gender are two factors that are associated with beliefs about firearms and suicide. However, the extent to which these variables—in isolation and in combination—are associated with such beliefs has not been examined. This study examined how gender and social policy beliefs are associated with misconceptions about firearms and suicide. A total of 367 firearm owners took part in an anonymous online survey. Conservative firearm owners indicated firearm ownership and storage are less strongly related to suicide risk than did moderate or liberal individuals. Conservative males had significantly higher belief in means substitution than moderate and liberal males and liberal females. Liberal females had significantly lower belief in means substitution than moderate males and females and liberal males. Effective messaging regarding firearm means safety must consider the perspectives and potential motivations of individuals who are male and/or hold conservative beliefs to increase the reach and acceptability of means safety efforts.

Keywords

Firearm owners Means safety Males Conservative beliefs 

Notes

Funding

This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Author Michael D. Anestis receives personal income from a book focused on means safety. He also receives income for presentations and consulting related to means safety. Author Samantha E. Daruwala, Shelby L. Bandel, Claire Houtsma and Sarah E. Butterworth declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee (protocol number 17111501) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent: Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Animal Rights Statements: No animal studies were carried out by the authors for this article.

References

  1. Anderson, J. (2018). “We are not anti-gun. We are anti-bullet hole”: Doctors’ powerful comeback to the NRA. Retrieved from https://qz.com/1460161/doctors-explain-to-the-nra-why-gun-violence-is-very-much-in-their-lane/.
  2. Anestis, M. D., Butterworth, S. E., & Houtsma, C. (2018). Perceptions of firearms and suicide: The role of misinformation in storage practices and openness to means safety measures. Journal of Affective Disorders,227, 530–535.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barber, C., Frank, E., & Demicco, R. (2017). Reducing suicides through partnerships between health professionals and gun owner groups—beyond docs vs glocks. JAMA Internal Medicine,177(1), 5–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Butterworth, S. E., Houtsma, C., Anestis, J. C., & Anestis, M. D. (2018). Investigating the relationship between social and economic policy views, firearm ownership, and death by firearm in a sample of suicide decedents. Archives of Suicide Research,22(3), 420–431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Butterworth, S. E., & Anestis, M. D. (2018). Political beliefs, region of residence, and openness to firearm means safety measures to prevent suicide. Archives of Suicide Research,23(4), 616–633.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2018). Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Atlanta, GA. Accessed from https://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/index.html on December 13, 2018.
  7. Conner, A., Azrael, D., & Miller, M. (2018). Public opinion about the relationship between firearm availability and suicide: Results from a national survey. Annals of Internal Medicine,168(2), 153–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Diagle, M. S. (2005). Suicide prevention through means restriction: Assessing the risk of substitution: A critical review and synthesis. Accident Analysis and Prevention,37, 625–632.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Farmer, R., & Rohde, J. (1980). Effects of availability and acceptability of lethal instruments on suicide mortality an analysis of some international data. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica,62(5), 436–445.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Florentine, J. B., & Crane, C. (2010). Suicide prevention by limiting access to methods: A review of theory and practice. Social Science & Medicine,70(10), 1626–1632.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gauchat, G. (2012). Politicization of science in the public sphere: A study of public trust in the United States, 1974 to 2010. American Sociological Review,77, 167–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gunnel, D., Fernando, R., Hewagama, M., Priyangika, W. D. D., Konradsen, F., & Eddleston, M. (2007). The impact of pesticide regulations on suicide in Sri Lanka. International Journal of Epidemiology,36(6), 1235–1242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hamilton, L. C. (2015). Conservative and liberal views of science, does trust depend on topic? Carsey School of Public Policy,45, 1–10.Google Scholar
  14. Hargis, C. (2018). NRA spokesperson calls pediatricians “irresponsible” for pointing out link between firearms and adolescent suicide [Online blog]. Retrieved from https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2018/12/04/nra-spokesperson-calls-pediatricians-irresponsible-pointing-out-link-between-firearms-and-adolescent/222225.
  15. Mahalik, J. R., Locke, B. D., Ludlow, L. H., Diemer, M. A., Scott, R. P., Gottfried, M., et al. (2003). Development of the conformity to masculine norms inventory. Psychology of Men & Masculinity,4, 3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Miller, M., Azreal, D., & Hemenway, D. (2006). Belief in the inevitability of suicide: Results from a national survey. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior,36(1), 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Pallin, R., Siry, B., Azrael, D., Knoepke, C. E., Matlock, D. D., Clement, A., … & Betz, M.E. (2019). “Hey, let me hold your guns for a while”: A qualitative study of messaging for firearm suicide prevention. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 37(3), 259–269.Google Scholar
  18. Parker, K. (2017). Among gun owners, NRA members have a unique set of views and experiences. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/07/05/among-gun-owners-nra-members-have-a-unique-set-of-views-and-experiences/.
  19. Pew Research Center. (2014). The demographics and politics of gun-owning households. Retrieved December 13, 2018, from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/07/15/the-demographics-and-politics-of-gun-owning-households/
  20. Sarchiapone, M., Mandelli, L., Iosue, M., Andrisano, C., & Roy, A. (2011). Controlling access to suicide means. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health,8(12), 4550–4562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Shelef, L., Tatsa-Laur, L., Derazne, E., Mann, J. J., & Fruchter, E. (2016). An effective suicide prevention program in the Israeli Defense Forces: A cohort study. European Psychiatry,31, 37–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Simonetti, J. A., Azrael, D., & Miller, M. (2019). Firearm storage practices and risk perceptions among a nationally representative sample of us veterans with and without self-harm risk factors. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior,49(3), 653–664.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Spicer, R. S., & Miller, T. R. (2000). Suicide acts in 8 states: Incidence and case fatality rates by demographics and method. American Journal of Public Health,90(12), 1885–1891.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Suicide and Firearms. (1999). Retrieved from https://www.nraila.org/articles/19991106/suicide-and-firearms.
  25. Surprise: Physician Group Rehashes Same Tired Gun Control Policies. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.nraila.org/articles/20181102/surprise-physician-group-rehashes-same-tired-gun-control-policies.
  26. US Census Bureau. (2010). Census regions and divisions of the United States. Retrieved August 4, 2019, from https://www2.census.gov/geo/pdfs/maps-data/maps/reference/us_regdiv.pdf.
  27. Witkowski, T. H. (2014). The visual politics of US gun culture. Research in Consumer Behavior,15, 3–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Wright, K. B. (2005). Researching Internet-based populations: Advantages and disadvantages of online survey research, online questionnaire authoring software packages, and web survey services. Journal of Computer-mediated Communication, 10(3), JCMC1034.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Southern MississippiHattiesburgUSA

Personalised recommendations