Year: 2018 Source: Social Science & Medicine. (2018). 197: 116-126. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017 SIEC No: 20180468

Marital status is an index of the phenomenon of social integration within social structures and has long been identified as an important predictor suicide. However, previous meta-analyses have focused only on a particular marital status, or not sufficiently explored moderators. A meta-analysis of observational studies was conducted to explore the relationships between marital status and suicide and to understand the important moderating factors in this association. Electronic databases were searched to identify studies conducted between January 1, 2000 and June 30, 2016. We performed a meta-analysis, subgroup analysis, and meta-regression of 170 suicide risk estimates from 36 publications. Using random effects model with adjustment for covariates, the study found that the suicide risk for non-married versus married was OR = 1.92 (95% CI: 1.75-2.12). The suicide risk was higher for non-married individuals aged <65 years than for those aged ≥65 years, and higher for men than for women. According to the results of stratified analysis by gender, non-married men exhibited a greater risk of suicide than their married counterparts in all sub-analyses, but women aged 65 years or older showed no significant association between marital status and suicide. The suicide risk in divorced individuals was higher than for non-married individuals in both men and women. The meta-regression showed that gender, age, and sample size affected between-study variation. The results of the study indicated that non-married individuals have an aggregate higher suicide risk than married ones. In addition, gender and age were confirmed as important moderating factors in the relationship between marital status and suicide.