Suicidal ideation in family carers of people with dementia: a pilot study
Article first published online: 4 MAR 2013
Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Volume 28, Issue 11, pages 1182–1188, November 2013
How to Cite
O'Dwyer, S. T., Moyle, W., Zimmer-Gembeck, M. and De Leo, D. (2013), Suicidal ideation in family carers of people with dementia: a pilot study. Int. J. Geriat. Psychiatry, 28: 1182–1188. doi: 10.1002/gps.3941
- Issue published online: 4 OCT 2013
- Article first published online: 4 MAR 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 22 JAN 2013
- Manuscript Received: 23 SEP 2012
- Griffith Health Institute Project Grant
- mental health
The objective of this pilot study was to gather preliminary evidence on suicidal ideation in family carers of people with dementia.
An online, cross-sectional survey was conducted with 120 family carers, the majority of whom were located in Australia and USA. The survey included measures of suicidality, self-efficacy, physical health, depression, hopelessness, anxiety, optimism, caregiver burden, coping strategies and social support.
Twenty-six percent of carers had contemplated suicide more than once in the previous year. Only half of these had ever told someone they might commit suicide and almost 30% said they were likely to attempt suicide in the future. Carers who had contemplated suicide had poorer mental health, lower self-efficacy for community support service use and greater use of dysfunctional coping strategies than those who had not. In a logistic regression, only depression predicted the presence of suicidal thoughts.
A significant number of people might contemplate suicide while caring for a family member with dementia. Although more research is required to confirm this finding, there are clear implications for policy and clinical practice in terms of identifying and supporting carers who are already contemplating suicide. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.