Associations between anger and suicidal ideation and attempts: A prospective study using the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions
Dillon, K.H., van Voorhees, E.E., & Elbogen, E.B.
Suicide is among the leading causes of death in the United States, with rates having risen substantially over the past two decades. Anger is a common symptom of several disorders associated with suicide, and the little research that has been done in the area suggests that it may be an often overlooked transdiagnostic risk factor for both suicidal ideation and behavior. The current study used the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) dataset to evaluate anger at Wave 1 as a risk factor for suicidal ideation and suicide attempt at Wave 2 (three years later) in a nationally representative sample of 34,653 participants. Chi-square analyses indicated that participants reporting problematic anger at Wave 1 were significantly more likely to endorse suicidal ideation (χ2 = 65.35, p < .001) and suicide attempt (χ2 = 24.86, p < .001) at Wave 2. Multivariate regression analyses confirmed that problematic anger significantly predicted suicidal ideation (OR = 1.48, 95% CI [1.21,1.82], p < .001) and attempt (OR = 1.53, 95% CI [1.07,2.19], p = .020) over the three year period, even after adjusting for psychiatric risk factors, and demographic and historical covariates. Findings suggests the potential benefit of integrating anger assessment and treatment into research and clinical programs focused on reducing suicide.