Press Releases

Mental illness not to blame for gun violence, study finds


utmb-health-300x194
By utmb | February 7, 2019

GALVESTON, Texas – Counter to a lot of public opinion, having a mental illness does not necessarily make a person more likely to commit gun violence. According to a new study, a better indicator of gun violence was access to firearms.
The study by researchers at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston looked into the association between gun violence and mental health in a group of 663 young adults in Texas. Their results were published in the journal Preventive Medicine.
“Counter to public beliefs, the majority of mental health symptoms examined were not related to gun violence,” said Dr. Yu Lu, a postdoctoral research fellow at UTMB and the lead author of the study.
What researchers found instead was that individuals who had gun access were approximately 18 times more likely to have threatened someone with a gun. Individuals with high hostility were about 3.5 times more likely to threaten someone.
“These findings have important implications for gun control policy efforts,” Lu said.
Each year, an estimated 75,000 to 100,000 Americans are injured by firearms and 30,000 to 40,000 die from firearms, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
“Much of the limited research on gun violence and mental illness has focused on violence among individuals with severe mental illnesses or rates of mental illness among individuals arrested for violent crimes,” Lu said. “What we found is that the link between mental illness and gun violence is not there.”
Lu and Dr. Jeff Temple, another author of the study and a professor at UTMB, surveyed participants in a long-term study about their firearm possession and use as well as about anxiety, depression, stress, posttraumatic stress disorder, hostility, impulsivity, borderline personality disorder, mental health treatment and other demographic details.
The researchers found that individuals who had access to guns, compared to those with no such access, were over 18 times more likely to have threatened someone with a gun, even after controlling for a number of demographic and mental health variables. Meanwhile, most mental health symptoms were unrelated to gun violence.
“Taking all this information together, limiting access to guns, regardless of any other mental health status, demographics or prior mental health treatments, is the key to reducing gun violence,” Temple said.
This research was supported by awards from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and from the National Institute of Justice. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NICHD or NIJ.




Social Posts

profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

An Oral History Boom: Hundreds of Groups Are Recording Veterans' Stories https://t.co/KZ7WTC1cPM via @wunc

1 hour ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

ICYMI: Research shows small cell #lungcancer may respond to combination of #immunotherapy and DNA damage repair inhibitors https://t.co/eVvxKI367M #endcancer

1 hour ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

ISU offering free legal clinic for service members and Veterans https://t.co/m8a8DfczL5 via @localnews8

2 hours ago
profile_image

Veterans Affairs

@DeptVetAffairs

Iraq, Afghanistan and Persian Gulf Veterans sought to take part in last honor flight by Omaha group https://t.co/WuwJltI2P5 via @sbstarherald

3 hours ago
profile_image

MD Anderson Cancer Center

@MDAndersonNews

What happens to your body when you overeat? https://t.co/AyLIiWQACi via @focusedonhealth #endcancer

4 hours ago
profile_image

University of Houston

@UHouston

RT @UHpres: How about that...Cougars beat USF and take their 26th win of the season!

4 hours ago
profile_image

University of Houston

@UHouston

RT @UHCougarMBK: No 9/8 COOGS WIN!!! Final score presented by @thejointchiro UH moves to 2️⃣6️⃣-1️⃣ overall 1️⃣3️⃣-1️⃣ in #AmericanHoops…

4 hours ago
profile_image

University of Houston

@UHouston

RT @UHpres: Have to watch this game on IPhone... https://t.co/n7LZL6y3UD

5 hours ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

@SylvesterTurner @RiceAthletics @ConferenceUSA @RiceWBB 💙🦉

6 hours ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

RT @RiceAthletics: 🚨 YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST! @HoustonTX Mayor @SylvesterTurner will be in attendance for the final @RiceWBB home game of…

6 hours ago
profile_image

Rice University

@RiceUniversity

Congrats @RiceWBB! 🎉 https://t.co/5tnjE0TjiM

7 hours ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

Dr. Chonghui Cheng sits down with @BCMFromtheLabs to talk about how protein CD44 variants prompt different cancer cell behaviors. https://t.co/YOq8f7LIGs #cancer #research

8 hours ago
profile_image

Memorial Hermann

@memorialhermann

Here's 10 creative ways to squeeze a workout into your busy schedule: https://t.co/4rqaXtZo0w. #HeartMonth https://t.co/b4DcazpBdO

8 hours ago
profile_image

BCMHouston

@bcmhouston

RT @bcmgcprogram: @bcmgcprogram faculty member Michael Wangler (@mfwangler) was the featured event speaker at today’s @rarediseaseday Houst…

9 hours ago
profile_image

UTHealth

@UTHealth

The Maternal and Child Health Training Program team at UTHealth is working to integrate community health workers into the spectrum of maternal and child health care. Learn more in this @TXHealthJournalstory: https://t.co/zRITDTDJVX #ManyFacesOfUTHealth

10 hours ago