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Psychosocial well-being and firearm storage practices: evidence from five US states
  1. Biplab Kumar Datta1,2,
  2. Jennifer E Jaremski1,
  3. J Aaron Johnson1,3
  1. 1Institute of Public and Preventive Health, Augusta University, Augusta, Georgia, USA
  2. 2Department of Health Management, Economics and Policy, Augusta University, Augusta, Georgia, USA
  3. 3Department of Community & Behavioral Health Sciences, Augusta University, Augusta, Georgia, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Biplab Kumar Datta, Institute of Public and Preventive Health, Augusta University, Augusta, Georgia, USA; bdatta{at}


Objective Gun safety practices can play a pivotal role in preventing suicide and unintentional injuries involving a firearm. This study aimed to assess whether psychosocial well-being, measured by emotional support, feeling of social isolation and life satisfaction, influenced safe storage practices among individuals who had firearms in or around their home.

Methods Data are from the firearm safety module of the 2022 Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance System survey of 11 722 individuals having firearms and living in California, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico and Ohio. Respondents were asked to identify how guns were stored in their homes including: (1) not loaded, (2) loaded but locked and (3) loaded and unlocked. Multinomial logistic regression models with controls for sociodemographic correlates assess the relative risks of certain storage measures.

Results Relative to the base outcome of not loaded, the adjusted relative risks of having firearms loaded and unlocked among individuals who usually/always felt socially isolated were 1.72 (95% CI: 1.02 to 2.88) times that of individuals who never felt socially isolated. The adjusted risks among individuals who were dissatisfied with their life were 1.82 (95% CI: 1.02 to 3.24) times that of their counterparts who were very satisfied. The adjusted risks were not statistically significant among individuals who rarely/never received needed emotional support compared with individuals who always received support.

Conclusion The results suggest a strong relationship between social isolation and life satisfaction and safe storage practices at home. Policies designed to improve psychosocial well-being, therefore, may present an important opportunity for preventing unintentional firearm injuries.

  • Firearm
  • Epidemiology
  • Mental Health
  • Psychological

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  • Contributors BKD was responsible for conceptualisation, methodology, software, formal analysis, investigation and writing—original draft. JEJ was responsible for conceptualisation, investigation and writing—review and editing. JAJ was responsible for conceptualisation, writing—review and editing, validation and supervision.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.