Predictors and correlates of suicide attempts over 5 years in 1,237 alcohol-dependent men and women

Am J Psychiatry. 2003 Jan;160(1):56-63. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.160.1.56.


Objective: In previous studies, factors related to a history of suicide attempts in persons with alcohol dependence have included sociodemographic variables, a more severe course of alcoholism, additional substance use disorders, and psychiatric comorbidity. This 5-year prospective study evaluated attributes associated with suicide attempts in a group of treatment-seeking persons with alcohol dependence. Psychiatric comorbidity was examined in terms of a distinction between substance-induced and independent psychiatric disorders.

Method: Semistructured interviews were conducted with 1,237 alcohol-dependent subjects from the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism both at an initial evaluation and at a 5-year follow-up. Clinically relevant information was gathered at baseline, and suicidal behavior, aspects of alcohol dependence, and drug use were evaluated at the follow-up interview.

Results: Alcohol-dependent subjects (N=56) with suicide attempts during the follow-up period were more likely than subjects with no suicide attempts (N=1,181) to have made prior attempts. Other factors related to future suicide attempts in univariate analyses included younger age, being separated or divorced, other drug dependence, substance-induced psychiatric disorders, and indicators of a more severe course of alcoholism. Gender did not predict future attempts.

Conclusions: A 5-year prospective evaluation of attributes associated with suicide attempts among alcohol-dependent persons identified factors that contributed to a small but significant proportion of the variance for future suicidal behavior.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology
  • Alcoholism / genetics
  • Alcoholism / psychology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / genetics
  • Mental Disorders / mortality
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / mortality
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data