Relationship Satisfaction and Risk Factors for Suicide

Crisis. 2017 Jan;38(1):7-16. doi: 10.1027/0227-5910/a000407. Epub 2016 Jul 22.


Background: Previous studies suggest that troubled romantic relationships are associated with higher risk factors for mental health. However, studies examining the role of relationship satisfaction in suicide risk factors are scarce.

Aims: We investigated differences in risk factors for suicide between individuals with high relationship satisfaction, individuals with low relationship satisfaction, and singles. Furthermore, we explored patterns of experiencing, and dealing with, conflicts in the relationship and examined associations with suicide risk factors.

Method: In this cross-sectional study, we assessed relationship status, relationship satisfaction, specific types of relationship conflicts, and suicide risk factors (i.e., suicidal ideation, hopelessness, depression) with questionnaires among 382 individuals in Austria.

Results: Risk factors for suicide were higher among singles than among individuals in happy relationships, but highest among those with low relationship satisfaction [corrected]. Participants reporting a high number of unsolved conflicts in their relationship had higher levels of suicidal ideation, hopelessness, and depression than individuals who tend to solve issues with their partner amicably or report no conflicts.

Conclusion: Relationship satisfaction and relationship conflicts reflect risk factors for suicide, with higher levels of suicidal ideation, hopelessness, and depression reported by individuals who mentioned unsolved conflicts with their partner and experienced low satisfaction with their relationship.

Keywords: relationship conflicts; relationship satisfaction; romantic relationship; suicidal ideation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychological Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires