Risk factors associated with intimate partner problem related suicides
Anderson, Ayana Rashida
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Suicides have been increasing over the past two decades and they are a major public health problem. Intimate partner problems (IPP) are a common precipitating factor associated with suicides. The purpose of this study was to identify risk factors associated with IPP-related suicides and to examine how they differ from non-IPP related suicides. This cross-sectional study analyzed data from the National Violent Deaths Reporting System (NVDRS) from 18 reporting states, using two samples. The first sample included all suicides of adults (18 years or older) with precipitating circumstances (n=106,994). The second was a subsample that consisted of people who died by suicide and had experienced IPPs matched with individuals who died by suicide but did not experience IPPs (n=59,792). The two groups were matched on the following variables: age (+/- 1 year), race/ethnicity, sex, year of death (+/- 1 year), and state of death. The following risk factors were examined: mental health problems, current depressed mood, history of suicidal thoughts, history of suicide attempts, alcohol abuse problem, other substance abuse problem, physical illness, family problems, friend problems, suicide of family or friend, death of family or friend, arguments over money, property or insult, financial problems, job problems, precipitated by a crime, and recent criminal or legal problems. Compared to non-IPP suicide decedents, IPP suicide decedents were more likely to be younger and married and to experience (1) current depressed mood, (2) suicide ideation, (3) suicide attempts (only in the unmatched sample), (4) alcohol abuse problems, (5) arguments over money, property, or insult, (6) financial problems, and (7) precipitated by another serious crime. Conversely, non-IPP suicide decedents were more like to be older and never married, single or widowed, and to experience (1) mental health problems, (2) other substance abuse problems, (3) physical illness (4) family problems, (5) friend problems (only in the matched comparison), (6) recent family or friend suicide (only in the unmatched sample), (7) other death of family or friend, (8) job problems, and (9) recent criminal or legal problem. In addition, the cumulative risk (having multiple risk factors) was significantly higher for the IPP-related suicide decedents (mean number of risks = 2.73) than non-IPP related suicide decedents (mean = 2.48). This study justifies the need for interventions in non-traditional venues. Court representatives could be trained to identify potential individuals with IPPs and refer them to the necessary resources to help mitigate IPP. Alcohol Anonymous programs and other substance abuse treatment facilities could use this analysis to develop tools to identify and address IPPs and prevent suicides. Mental health care providers and personnel in hospitals and emergency rooms could use results from this study to develop screening tools to identify IPP and reduce IPP and suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.