Year: 2022 Source: Journal of Psychiatric Research. (2022). 155, 493–500. SIEC No: 20221072
Although men are more likely to die by suicide, women experience a greater and more rapidly increasing rate of suicidal ideation (SI) and are 3 times more likely to attempt suicide than men. Despite this increased risk, little is known about factors that contribute to SI or suicide attempts (SA) among women. We examined factors associated with SI and SA among women and identified mood-related symptoms that differentiate women who reported attempting suicide from those who did not. Women at elevated risk for depression from across the U.S. (N = 3372; age 18 to 90) completed a survey regarding depression, anxiety, sociodemographic and reproductive status, behavioral/mental health history, and exposure to adversity. Structural equation modeling and logistic regression were used to analyze the data. Variables with the most significant relationships to SI were severity of depression (OR = 5.2, p = 0.000) and perceived stress (OR = 1.18, p = 0.000) while frequency of suicidal thoughts (OR = 3.3, p = 0.000), family history of a depression diagnosis (OR = 1.6, p = 0.000) and exposure to violence (OR = 1.9, p = 0.000) had the strongest association with SA. Childhood abuse/trauma was associated with SA (OR = 1.13, p = 0.000) but not SI. ‘Feeling bad about themselves, a failure, or having let themselves or their family down’ was the symptom that most clearly differentiated women who attempted suicide from women who reported suicidal ideation but no SA. The salience of childhood abuse and domestic/community violence to women's risk for a suicide attempt reinforces previous findings that these adversities may differentiate suicide risk for women versus men. Continued research is essential to understand varied paths that may lead to suicidal behavior among women, some which appear unrelated to the frequency or intensity of their suicidal thoughts.