Wiener klinische Wochenschrift

, Volume 118, Issue 15–16, pp 464–468 | Cite as

Suicide by shooting is correlated to rate of gun licenses in Austrian counties

  • Elmar Etzersdorfer
  • Nestor D. Kapusta
  • Gernot Sonneck
Original Article

Summary

OBJECTIVES: Shooting as method of suicide has increased considerably in Austria over recent decades and represented 23.5% of all suicides among men during the period 1990–2000. It is thought that the availability of guns could lead to their use in acts of suicide, and therefore we investigated the numbers of gun licenses (which constitutes ownership of guns and permission to carry a gun) in the nine Austrian counties and their correlation with suicides by shooting and other methods. METHODS: We studied registered suicides, including the method used, between 1990 and 2000 in Austria and the numbers of gun licenses held in the nine counties of Austria in the same period. RESULTS: We found a strong correlation between the average gun license rate for the period 1990–2000 and suicides by shooting (r = 0.967), and only very weak correlation, and for some of the years under investigation a negative correlation, with other methods of committing suicide (r = 0.117) and the suicide rate in general (r = 0.383). CONCLUSIONS: As shooting as a method of suicide has increased in Austria in recent decades, and is a highly lethal method, the finding that the shooting suicide rate is related to the extent of gun ownership deserves attention, especially as there is evidence that restriction of gun ownership is an important factor in suicide prevention.

Keywords

Suicide Austria Shooting Gun licenses Suicide prevention 

Suizide durch Erschießen korrelieren mit der Waffenpassrate in den österreichischen Bundesländern

Zusammenfassung

HINTERGRUND: Erschießen als Suizidmethode ist in den letzten Jahrzehnten in Österreich deutlich angestiegen, bei Männern auf 23,5% aller Suizide (1990–2000). Da bekannt ist, dass die Verfügbarkeit von Waffen von Einfluss für deren Benutzung als Suizidmittel sein kann, untersuchten wir die Zahl der ausgestellten Waffenpässe (die mit Waffenbesitz korreliert und die Erlaubnis darstellt, eine Waffe zu tragen) und deren Korrelation mit Suiziden durch Erschießen und andere Suizidmethoden. STUDIENDESIGN: Wir untersuchten die registrierten Suizide in Österreich in den Jahren 1990 bis 2000 sowie die Zahl der Waffenpässe in den österreichischen Bundesländern in derselben Periode. ERGEBNISSE: Wir fanden eine starke Korrelation zwischen der durchschnittlichen Rate (1990–2000) an Waffenpässen und Suiziden durch Erschießen (r = 0.967), und nur sehr schwache und für einige der untersuchten Jahre negative Korrelationen mit anderen Suizidmethoden (r = 0.117) bzw. der Gesamtsuizidrate (r = 0.383). SCHLUSSFOLGERUNGEN: Da Erschießen als Suizidmethode in Österreich in den letzten Jahrzehnten stark angestiegen ist und eine Methode mit hoher Letalität darstellt, verdient dieses Ergebnis besondere Beachtung, besonders, da Evidenz darüber besteht, dass Einschränkung von Waffenbesitz ein wichtiger Aspekt der Suizidprävention sein kann.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elmar Etzersdorfer
    • 1
  • Nestor D. Kapusta
    • 2
  • Gernot Sonneck
    • 2
  1. 1.FurtbachkrankenhausKlinik für Psychiatrie und PsychotherapieStuttgartGermany
  2. 2.Institut für Medizinische Psychologie, Zentrum für Public HealthMedizinische Universität WienWienAustria

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