Suicide risk and its relationship to change in marital status
Roskar, S., Podlesek, A., Kuzmanic, M., Demsar, L.O., Zaletel, M., & Marusic, A.
Background: Different types of marital status are associated with different levels of suicidal risk. Aims: To study marital status change and the effect of its recency in relation to suicidal behavior. Methods: Suicide victims (1614) in Slovenia and matched controls (4617) were compared for incidence and recency of marital status change during the last 5 years of their lives. Results: A higher percentage of suicide victims (10.7%) had a marital status change in the last 5 years compared with the controls (5.6%). All types of marital status changes (becoming widowed, getting divorced, getting married) proved to be risk factors for suicidal behavior. Almost half of all marital status changes in suicide victims occurred in the year prior to suicide, whereas marital status changes in the control group were equally distributed over the last 5 years. For recently married and divorced people, the increase in suicide risk depended on age: The risk was higher in older people. Conclusions: Marital status change represents a risk factor for suicidal behavior. The first year after the change is critical for elevated suicidal risk, in particular for older people.