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      Firearm Ownership Among Military Veterans with PTSD: A Profile of Demographic and Psychosocial Correlates

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          Abstract

          Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition that disproportionately affects military veterans, is associated with heightened rates of aggression and suicide. Although experience with firearms is common among this population, virtually nothing is known regarding who is more likely to own a firearm and whether firearm ownership is differentially associated with psychological and behavioral risk factors among veterans with PTSD. Of 465 veterans (79% male) entering PTSD treatment, 28% owned a firearm (median number of firearms among owners = 3, range 1-40). Firearm owners reported higher income, were less likely to be unemployed, and were more likely to be male, Caucasian, married, and living in permanent housing. Ownership was associated with higher combat exposure and driving aggression, yet lower rates of childhood and military sexual trauma, suicidal ideation, and incarceration. Ownership was not associated with previous suicide attempt, arrest history, number of traumas experienced, PTSD symptoms, or depression. Together, among a sample of treatment-seeking military veterans with PTSD, those who owned a firearm appeared to demonstrate greater stability across a number of domains of functioning. Importantly though, routine firearm safety discussions (e.g., accessibility restrictions; violence risk assessments) and bolstering of anger management skills remain critical when working with this high-risk population.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          2984771R
          5824
          Mil Med
          Mil Med
          Military medicine
          0026-4075
          1930-613X
          5 November 2016
          October 2016
          14 February 2017
          : 181
          : 10
          : 1207-1211
          Affiliations
          [1 ] National Center for PTSD, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Menlo Park, CA, USA
          [2 ] Center for Innovation to Implementation, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Menlo Park, CA, USA
          [3 ] Palo Alto University, Palo Alto, CA, USA
          [4 ] VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Menlo Park, CA, USA
          [5 ] Center of Excellence in Substance Abuse Treatment and Education, Philadelphia VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA, USA
          [6 ] Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA
          Author notes
          Corresponding Author: Adrienne J. Heinz, Ph.D., adrienneheinz@ 123456gmail.com , Guarantor: Adrienne J. Heinz, PhD.
          Article
          PMC5308415 PMC5308415 5308415 vapa827828
          10.7205/MILMED-D-15-00552
          5308415
          27753553
          1d50c9bc-b2fe-4a0e-a2d4-de38aa856991
          Categories
          Article

          PTSD,Suicide,Trauma,Veterans,Firearms,Guns
          PTSD, Suicide, Trauma, Veterans, Firearms, Guns

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