This work was funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Services Research and Development Service and Mental Health Strategic Health Group.
Predictors of a Suicide Attempt One Year After Entry Into Substance Use Disorder Treatment
Article first published online: 27 FEB 2007
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume 31, Issue 4, pages 635–642, April 2007
How to Cite
Ilgen, M. A., Harris, A. H. S., Moos, R. H. and Tiet, Q. Q. (2007), Predictors of a Suicide Attempt One Year After Entry Into Substance Use Disorder Treatment. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 31: 635–642. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2007.00348.x
- Issue published online: 27 FEB 2007
- Article first published online: 27 FEB 2007
- Received for publication July 13, 2006; accepted January 2, 2007.
- Substance Use;
Background: The present study examined the patient intake and treatment-related risk factors associated with a suicide attempt in the 30 days before a 1-year posttreatment assessment.
Methods: A national sample of 8,807 patients presenting for treatment of substance use disorders (SUDs) in the Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare system were assessed at treatment intake and follow-up. Using the MacArthur Model, the risk and protective factors for suicide attempt were identified at baseline and during treatment.
Results: At follow-up, 4% (314/8,807) of the patients reported a suicide attempt within the past 30 days. Baseline predictors of a suicide attempt before follow-up included elevated suicidal/psychiatric symptoms, more recent problematic alcohol use, and longer duration of cocaine use. Contact with the criminal justice system was a protective factor that reduced the likelihood of a future suicide attempt. Greater engagement in SUD treatment was also associated with a reduction in suicide risk.
Conclusions: More involvement in SUD treatment reduced the likelihood of a future suicide attempt in high-risk patients. Substance use disorder treatment providers interested in reducing future suicidal behavior may want to concentrate their efforts on identifying at-risk individuals and actively engaging these patients in longer treatment episodes.