Deborah Azrael

Deborah Azrael

Director of Research, Harvard Injury Control Research Center, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Research Associate, Dept of Health Policy and Management, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Dissertation Title:  "Firearms: Storage and Use at Home and Use in Suicides by Children"

Each year in the United States, tens of thousands of people are killed with firearms, and many more are injured. The three papers which make up this dissertation address one aspect of the problem of gun violence in the United States: the use and storage of guns within homes and families. The first paper describes the results of a nationally-representative random digit dial telephone survey of U.S. adults, the objective of which was to assess the relative frequency and characteristics of weapons-related events at home. The study finds that guns may be used at least as often by family members to frighten intimates as to thwart crime, and that other weapons are far more commonly used against intruders than are guns. The second paper, also based on the results of a nationally representative telephone survey, finds that within gun-owning households with children, non-gun owners are far more likely to report that guns are stored safely than those who personally own guns. The results of the study suggest the possibility that non-gun owners, generally women, are not well-informed about how guns are stored in their homes. The third paper uses data from the Arizona Childhood Fatality Review team to assess the correlates of suicide by children. The paper finds that children who use guns to kill themselves are less likely than those who use other methods to have experienced a life crisis or to have expressed suicidal thoughts in the past.


Graduation Year