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Psychosocial characteristics as potential predictors of suicide in adults: An overview of the evidence with new results from prospective cohort studies

Psychosocial characteristics as potential predictors of suicide in adults: An overview of the evidence with new results from prospective cohort studies
Psychosocial characteristics as potential predictors of suicide in adults: An overview of the evidence with new results from prospective cohort studies

In this narrative overview of the evidence linking psychosocial factors with future suicide risk, we collected results from published reports of prospective studies with verified suicide events (mortality or, less commonly, hospitalisation) alongside analyses of new data. There is abundant evidence indicating that low socioeconomic position, irrespective of the economic status of the country in question, is associated with an increased risk of suicide, including the suggestion that the recent global economic recession has been responsible for an increase in suicide deaths and, by proxy, attempts. Social isolation, low scores on tests of intelligence, serious mental illness (both particularly strongly), chronic psychological distress, and lower physical stature (a marker of childhood exposures) were also consistently related to elevated suicide rates. Although there is some circumstantial evidence for psychosocial stress, personality disposition, and early-life characteristics such as bullying being risk indices for suicide, the general paucity of studies means it is not currently possible to draw clear conclusions about their role. Most suicide intervention strategies have traditionally not explored the modification of psychosocial factors, partly because evidence linking psychosocial factors with suicide risk is, as shown herein, largely in its infancy, or, where is does exist, for instance for intelligence and personality disposition, the characteristics in question do not appear to be easily malleable.

1-15
Batty, G. David
894f5dad-375f-40b6-8936-d9143b49f169
Kivimäki, Mika
a5788d83-a59c-477e-9ae9-8b7896ed098a
Bell, Steven
b3c6d282-d989-4455-8983-61cb506e073e
Gale, Catharine R.
5bb2abb3-7b53-42d6-8aa7-817e193140c8
Shipley, Martin
bc4bad6d-5f85-46ef-b812-a9600738d00b
Whitley, Elise
a61656e6-fdd9-4ff9-affc-661bb2960579
Gunnell, David
d525f7e5-7447-43c8-84b7-a122b60b3c54
Batty, G. David
894f5dad-375f-40b6-8936-d9143b49f169
Kivimäki, Mika
a5788d83-a59c-477e-9ae9-8b7896ed098a
Bell, Steven
b3c6d282-d989-4455-8983-61cb506e073e
Gale, Catharine R.
5bb2abb3-7b53-42d6-8aa7-817e193140c8
Shipley, Martin
bc4bad6d-5f85-46ef-b812-a9600738d00b
Whitley, Elise
a61656e6-fdd9-4ff9-affc-661bb2960579
Gunnell, David
d525f7e5-7447-43c8-84b7-a122b60b3c54

Batty, G. David, Kivimäki, Mika, Bell, Steven, Gale, Catharine R., Shipley, Martin, Whitley, Elise and Gunnell, David (2018) Psychosocial characteristics as potential predictors of suicide in adults: An overview of the evidence with new results from prospective cohort studies Translational Psychiatry, 8, (1), pp. 1-15. (doi:10.1038/s41398-017-0072-8).

Record type: Review

Abstract

In this narrative overview of the evidence linking psychosocial factors with future suicide risk, we collected results from published reports of prospective studies with verified suicide events (mortality or, less commonly, hospitalisation) alongside analyses of new data. There is abundant evidence indicating that low socioeconomic position, irrespective of the economic status of the country in question, is associated with an increased risk of suicide, including the suggestion that the recent global economic recession has been responsible for an increase in suicide deaths and, by proxy, attempts. Social isolation, low scores on tests of intelligence, serious mental illness (both particularly strongly), chronic psychological distress, and lower physical stature (a marker of childhood exposures) were also consistently related to elevated suicide rates. Although there is some circumstantial evidence for psychosocial stress, personality disposition, and early-life characteristics such as bullying being risk indices for suicide, the general paucity of studies means it is not currently possible to draw clear conclusions about their role. Most suicide intervention strategies have traditionally not explored the modification of psychosocial factors, partly because evidence linking psychosocial factors with suicide risk is, as shown herein, largely in its infancy, or, where is does exist, for instance for intelligence and personality disposition, the characteristics in question do not appear to be easily malleable.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 15 October 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 22 January 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 417608
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/417608
PURE UUID: f79a214b-6828-4db4-b631-6bb5fb304fcb

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Date deposited: 07 Feb 2018 17:30
Last modified: 07 Feb 2018 17:30

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Contributors

Author: G. David Batty
Author: Mika Kivimäki
Author: Steven Bell
Author: Martin Shipley
Author: Elise Whitley
Author: David Gunnell

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