Gun ownership, community stress, and sleep disturbance in America

Terrence D. Hill, Benjamin Dowd-Arrow, Christopher G. Ellison, Lauren Hale, Michael McFarland, Amy M. Burdette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: Although there is widespread speculation about guns helping people to sleep better, this idea has only recently faced empirical scrutiny. We test whether people who own guns tend to exhibit healthier sleep outcomes than people who do not own guns and whether the association between community stress and sleep is less pronounced for people who own guns. Design: We use ordinary least squares, multinomial logistic, and binary logistic regression to model cross-sectional survey data. Setting: Our data span the United States. Participants: The 2021 Crime, Health, and Politics Survey (CHAPS) is based on a national probability sample of 1714 adults. Measurements: Our analyses include multiple measures of gun ownership (personal ownership, keeping a gun in one's bedroom, and COVID-19 pandemic gun purchases), community stress (neighborhood disorder, neighborhood danger during the pandemic, and perceptions of police protection), and sleep (insomnia symptoms, sleep duration, and pandemic sleep). Results: We found that people who own guns and people who do not own guns tend to exhibit similar sleep outcomes and that people who experience community stressors tend to exhibit similar sleep outcomes regardless of gun ownership. Conclusion: Our analyses confirm that gun ownership is unrelated to sleep and that guns are insufficient to mitigate the detrimental effects of community stress on sleep. We extend prior work by (a) using more detailed measurements of gun ownership, community stress, and sleep, (b) assessing whether people keep a gun in their bedroom, and (c) exploring the intersection of pandemic gun purchases and pandemic sleep quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-166
Number of pages6
JournalSleep Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Sleep
  • firearms
  • guns
  • neighborhood
  • police

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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