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Increased Levels of Distress for Firearm Victimization

Likelihood of reporting severe distress up for firearm victimizations versus those involving other weapons

TUESDAY, June 19, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Firearm victimization is associated with increased levels of distress, according to a research letter published online June 19 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Rose M.C. Kagawa, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the University of California in Davis, and colleagues used cross-sectional data from the National Crime Victimization survey to examine the correlation between firearm involvement during a violent victimization and the prevalence of severe distress and social functioning problems attributed to the victimization. Data were included for respondents who experienced a personal violent victimization in the six months before the interview. Data were compared for 715 firearm victimizations, 1,054 involving other weapons, and 5,350 involving no weapon.

The researchers found that 26 percent of respondents reported severe distress as a result of the victimization and 27 percent reported having problems at work or school or with family or friends after the incident. The likelihood of reporting severe distress was increased for those whose violent victimizations involved firearms compared with those whose victimizations involved other weapons or did not involve weapons (prevalence ratios, 1.27 and 1.63, respectively). There were no statistically significant differences in the prevalence of reported social functioning problems.

“These findings suggest that firearm violence has unique negative effects on mental health in addition to well-understood effects on physical health and that patients victimized with a firearm may require special attention,” the authors write.

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