Financial Strain and Suicide Attempts in a Nationally Representative Sample of US Adults.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Although research has identified many suicide risk factors, the relationship between financial strain and suicide has received less attention. Using data representative of the US adult population (n = 34,653) from wave 1 (2001-2002) and wave 2 (2004-2005) of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, we investigated the association between financial strain-financial debt/crisis, unemployment, past homelessness, and lower income-and subsequent suicide attempts and suicidal ideation. Multivariable logistic regression controlling for demographic and clinical covariates showed that cumulative financial strain was predictive of suicide attempts between waves 1 and 2 (odds ratio (OR) = 1.53, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.32, 1.77). Wave 1 financial debt/crisis (OR = 1.58, 95% CI: 1.06, 2.34), unemployment (OR = 1.52, 95% CI: 1.10, 2.10), past homelessness (OR = 1.50, 95% CI: 1.03, 2.17), and lower income (OR = 1.51, 95% CI: 1.01, 2.25) were each associated with subsequent suicide attempts. Respondents endorsing these 4 financial-strain variables had 20 times higher predicted probability of attempting suicide compared with respondents endorsing none of these variables. Analyses yielded similar results examining suicidal ideation. Financial strain accumulated from multiple sources (debt, housing instability, unemployment, and low income) should be considered for optimal assessment, management, and prevention of suicide.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Elbogen, EB; Lanier, M; Montgomery, AE; Strickland, S; Wagner, HR; Tsai, J

Published Date

  • November 2, 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 189 / 11

Start / End Page

  • 1266 - 1274

PubMed ID

  • 32696055

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1476-6256

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/aje/kwaa146


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States