Family and Household Formations and Suicide in the United States


  • This article was edited by Jay Teachman.

Population Program and Department of Sociology, University of Colorado at Boulder, 484 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309-0484 (


Family support systems have been theoretically linked to suicide risk. But no research to date has investigated the effects of detailed living arrangements on individual risk of suicide. Using data on 825,462 adults from the National Health Interview Survey Linked Mortality File reveals that living in families with stronger sources of social support and integration decreases risk of suicide. These effects persist despite controls for important individual level characteristics. Risk of suicide decreases for persons in married as well as unmarried families when children are present and risk increases for persons living with unrelated adults. These results reveal the structural importance of family formation on the social integrative forces that contribute to an individual's risk of suicide.