Year: 2021 Source: Schizophrenia Bulletin. (2021). sbab113, SIEC No: 20210868

Approximately 5% of individuals with schizophrenia die from suicide. However, suicide in psychosis is still poorly characterized, partly due to a lack of adequate population-based clinical or genetic data on suicide death. The Utah Suicide Genetics Research Study (USGRS) provides a large population-based cohort of suicide deaths with medical record and genome-wide data (N = 4380). Examination of this cohort identified medical and genetic risks associated with type of suicide death and investigated the relative contributions of psychotic and affective symptoms to method of suicide. Key differences in method of suicide (common vs. atypical methods) were tested in relation to lifetime psychosis and genome-wide genetic risk for schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, and neuroticism. Consistent with previous studies, psychosis-spectrum disorders were observed to be common in suicide (15% of the cohort). Individuals with psychosis more frequently died from atypical methods, with rates of atypical suicide increasing across the schizophrenia spectrum. Genetic risk for schizophrenia was also associated with atypical suicide, regardless of clinical diagnosis, though this association weakened when filtering individuals with schizophrenia from the analysis. Follow-up examination indicated that high rates of atypical suicide observed in schizophrenia are not likely accounted for by restricted access to firearms. Overall, better accounting for the increased risk of atypical suicide methods in psychosis could lead to improved prevention strategies in a large portion of the suicide risk population.