An epidemiologic investigation of potential risk factors for suicide attempts

K. R. Petronis, J. F. Samuels, E. K. Moscicki, J. C. Anthony

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239 Scopus citations


This is a report of new research on suicide attempts, based on an analysis of data from the Epidemiologic Catchment Area surveys in the United States. Risk of making a suicide attempt during a 1-2 year observation interval in the early 1980s was estimated in relation to selected personal and behavioral atributes of 13,673 study participants who completed baseline and follow-up interviews for these surveys. Being an active case of Major Depression was associated with increased risk of suicide attempt (estimated relative odds, RO=41; 95% CL=6.46-262), as was active alcoholism (RO=18; 95% CL=2.75-118) and being separated or divorced (RO=11; 95% CL=1.64-77). Being a user of cocaine was associated with increased risk of making a suicide attempt (RO=62; 95% CL=2.51-1528), but illicit use of marijuana, sedative-hypnotics, or sympathomimetic stimulants was not (P>0.30). Educational achievement was inversely associated with risk of suicide attempt at a marginal level of statistical significance (P=0.068). These multivariable conditional logistic regression results were obtained by applying a conventional epidemiologic strategy with poststratification of subjects into homogeneous risk sets. Limitations of the study data and the analytic strategy are discussed in relation to directions for future epidemiologic field surveys.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-199
Number of pages7
JournalSocial psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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