Pain and suicidal thoughts, plans and attempts in the United States

Gen Hosp Psychiatry. Nov-Dec 2008;30(6):521-7. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2008.09.003. Epub 2008 Oct 7.

Abstract

Objective: This study examined the association between pain and suicidality in the general US population.

Method: Using data from the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication, we assessed relationships between four measures of pain (back and neck, headache, other nonarthritic pain and a summary score of the count of these conditions) and 12-month suicidal thoughts, plans and attempts using chi-square tests and logistic regression models. Multivariate logistic regression models controlled for demographic characteristics, chronic health conditions, mood, anxiety and substance use disorders.

Results: In multivariate models adjusting for concurrent psychiatric disorders and other chronic medical conditions, suicidal ideation was associated with head pain (OR 1.9, 95% CI: 1.2, 3.0) and the pain summary score (OR 1.2, 95% CI: 1.0, 1.4). Suicide attempt was also associated with head pain (OR 2.3, 95% CI: 1.2, 4.4) and pain summary score (OR 1.7, 95% CI: 1.1, 2.6). Other nonarthritic pain was associated with suicide attempts (OR4.0, 95% CI: 1.8, 9.1).

Conclusions: These findings highlight the importance of pain as a potentially independent risk factor for suicide, particularly among those with head pain or multiple forms of co-occurring pain. Individuals suffering from chronic pain may be particularly appropriate for suicide screening and intervention efforts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Back Pain / epidemiology
  • Back Pain / psychology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Headache / epidemiology
  • Headache / psychology
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Middle Aged
  • Mood Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mood Disorders / psychology
  • Motivation*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neck Pain / epidemiology
  • Neck Pain / psychology
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Suicide, Attempted / prevention & control
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data
  • Thinking*
  • United States
  • Young Adult