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

Ulrich W. Preuss, Marc A. Schuckit, Tom L. Smith, George P. Danko, Kathleen K. Bucholz, Michie N. Hesselbrock, Victor Hesselbrock, John R. Kramer

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121 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-63
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003


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