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Predictors of Suicidal Ideation Among “At Risk” Cocaine-Using African American Women


  • This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01-DA09819).

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The focus of this study was to identify factors that differentiate women drug abusers who had experienced suicidal ideation from those who did not. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 221 cocaine-using women in Atlanta, GA, 88 (39.8%) of whom reported thinking about committing suicide at least once during the 90 days prior to interview and 133 (60.2%) of whom did not. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify predictors of suicidal ideation, and post hoc goodness-of-fit tests were conducted to assess the robustness of final models derived. Model 1 excluded all psychosocial functioning measures and Model 2 included these items. Both models showed that suicidal ideation was more common among women who were unemployed, had been abused sexually, engaged in sexual relations to cope with stresses, or had less helpful relatives. In addition, Model 1 revealed a heightened risk for women experiencing financial problems and those who had a previous mental health diagnosis, whereas Model 2 showed an elevated risk among women who experienced anxiety and those who had lower levels of self-esteem. These findings suggest the need for prevention and intervention programs that target at-risk women, and for such programs to include an emphasis on suicidal ideation in addition to focusing on risk factors that are addressed more commonly.