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Investigation: predictors of intimate partner problems in suicide

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and intimate partner problems are among the top precipitating circumstances of suicide. A team of University of Kentucky College of Public Health researchers conducted an investigation with the aim of determining circumstantial associations of intimate partner problem-related suicides in suicide decedents in Kentucky. The resulting article appears in the journal Injury & Violence.

All suicides that were reported to the Kentucky Violent Death Reporting System between 2005 and 2012 were eligible for this study. Multiple logistic regression was used to explore predictors (precipitating health-related problems, life stressors, and criminal/legal issues) of intimate partner problem-related suicides.

Of the 4,754 suicide cases included in the study, approximately 17 percent included intimate partner problems prior to suicide. In the adjusted analysis mental health issues, alcohol problems, history of suicide attempts, suicides precipitated by another crime, and other legal problems increased the odds of having an intimate partner-related suicide. However, having physical health problems prior to the suicide decreased the odds of intimate partner-related suicide.

These results provide insight for the development of suicide interventions for individuals with intimate partner problems by targeting risk factors that are prevalent among this population. Moreover, these results may help marriage/relationship and/or family/divorce court representatives identify individuals with intimate partner problems more at risk for suicide and alleviate the influence these suicide risk factors have on individuals experiencing Intimate partner problems.

Authors are: Dr. Ashley L. Comiford, DrPH graduate of Kentucky and current epidemiologist at the Center for American Indian and Alaska Native Health; Dr. Wayne T. Sanderson, professor of Epidemiology; Dr. Lorie Chesnut, former assistant professor of Epidemiology; and Dr. Sabrina Brown, associate professor of Epidemiology