Year: 2019 Source: Journal of Psychiatric Research. (2018). 99: 122–128. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2018.01.009 SIEC No: 20190690

Using a large sample of college students, objectives were to examine (1) the overlap between poor sleep and suicide risk status, (2) whether poor sleep was associated with suicide behaviors above and beyond depression, (3) whether sleep problems and depression interacted to predict increased suicidal behaviors or risk, and (4) which specific components of sleep were uniquely associated with suicidal behaviors. Participants were 1,700 college students (ages 18–29 years; 65% female) from two universities who completed measures assessing sleep, depressive symptoms, and suicidal behaviors (Suicidal Behaviors Questionnaire–Revised [SBQ-R], a composite measure including ideation, past attempt, disclosure to others, and future likelihood of suicide that includes a cutoff for determining participants with suicide risk). Approximately one-quarter (24%) of participants were classified with suicide risk. Four-fifths (82.7%) of participants classified with suicide risk also met cutoff criteria for sleep problems; conversely, almost one-third (31.3%) of the participants classified with sleep problems were also classified with suicide risk. Total sleep problems remained significantly associated with suicidal behaviors above and beyond depressive symptoms, though sleep and depression did not interact to predict suicidal behaviors or risk. When considered together and controlling for sex, the odds of being classified with suicide risk were 6.54 times greater for participants with elevated depressive symptoms and 2.70 times greater for participants with sleep problems. Analyses examining specific sleep domains found shorter sleep duration, having bad dreams, feeling too cold while sleeping, and sleep medication use to each be independently associated with suicidal behaviors. Findings add to a growing body of literature
linking sleep and suicide in college students.