Suicide among men in the middle and later years has emerged as a major public health problem. Most suicides in men involve firearms, and this application seeks to determine whether firearm-related socialization and exposure during adolescence confer risk for firearm suicide in middle and later life. We hypothesize that firearm-related socialization and exposure confer risk for firearm suicide later in life above and beyond traditional suicide risk factors. We also examine whether firearm-related occupations at age 29-30 mediate this risk. Finally, we examine whether adaptive personality traits and problem-solving cognitive skill in adolescence function as individual resilience factors that mitigate firearm socialization risk. The application uses Project Talent, a ?cradle-to-grave? cohort representing detailed assessments of teens in all US high schools in 1960 (N = 377,000, male), follow-up of a subset at age 29 (N = 94,000, men), and recently completed mortality data collection from the age 29 cohort spanning the periods of 1979-2017 (including a 32% mortality rate and 225 male suicides, 63% of which are from firearms). The application includes plans to expand cause-specific mortality data collection to the entire baseline cohort, which is expected to provide roughly 4x as many suicides including over 550 firearm suicides, and to expand the data collection window to the 2018-2019 years, as the cohort enters their mid-70s.The team consists of an experienced suicidologist (Conner) collaborating with life course epidemiologist Chapman and leaders of the Project Talent cohort (Lapham, Peters).
Suicide in men in their middle and later years is a major public health problem. This application seeks to trace risk for suicide during these periods to adolescent firearm-related socialization and exposure, including how resilience characteristics such as adaptive personality traits and problem solving interact with firearm socialization. It also seeks to determine the extent firearm-related occupations by age 30 mediate this risk. Results can inform efforts to identify those at risk for firearm suicide in their middle and later years, the early origins of such risk, and individual resilience qualities that may mitigate it.