Gun Ownership and Life Satisfaction in the United States

Terrence D. Hill, Benjamin Dowd-Arrow, Amy M. Burdette, Tara D. Warner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Although there is little empirical evidence linking gun ownership with personal well-being, speculation is widespread in gun culture. In this article, we test whether people who own guns are more or less satisfied with their lives than people who do not own guns. Methods: We employ data collected from three national surveys, the Baylor Religion Survey (2014), the Chapman University Survey on American Fears (2014), and the General Social Survey (2018) to formally assess this understudied association. Results: In adjusted models, gun ownership was unrelated to life satisfaction. This general pattern was consistent across surveys, different measures and specifications of life satisfaction, and a wide range of subgroups. Conclusion: Our analyses contribute to the growing study of gun ownership and personal well-being and challenge theoretical perspectives and cultural narratives about how owning a gun can contribute favorably to one's quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2121-2136
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Science Quarterly
Volume101
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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