The association between homelessness and suicidal ideation and behaviors: results of a cross-sectional survey

Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2002 Winter;32(4):418-27. doi: 10.1521/suli.32.4.418.22341.


This study was carried out with three goals: (1) to determine the prevalence of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among the homeless; (2) to determine what aspects of homelessness predict suicidality, and (3) to determine which aspects remain predictive after controlling for key covariates, such as mental illness. A sample of 330 homeless adults were interviewed. Sixty-one percent of the study sample reported suicidal ideation and 34% had attempted suicide. Fifty-six percent of the men and 78% of the women reported prior suicidal ideation, while 28 percent of the men and 57% of the women had attempted suicide. Childhood homelessness of at least 1 week without family members and periods of homelessness longer than 6 months were found to be associated with suicidal ideation. Psychiatric diagnoses were also associated with suicidality in this sample.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ill-Housed Persons / psychology*
  • Ill-Housed Persons / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / prevention & control
  • Middle Aged
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Risk
  • Sex Factors
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Suicide, Attempted / prevention & control
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data