Predisposing and precipitating factors for suicide among alcoholics: Empirical review and conceptual integration

Kenneth R. Conner, Paul R. Duberstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations

Abstract

Alcohol dependence is a potent risk factor for suicide. Accordingly, alcoholics should be targeted in suicide prevention efforts. This article reviews the literature on suicide among alcoholics and provides a model that may inform research, clinical work, and prevention efforts. In this model, we propose that aggression/impulsivity, severe alcoholism, negative affect, and hopelessness are key predisposing factors for suicide among alcoholics. We propose that major depressive episodes and stressful life events, particularly interpersonal difficulties, are key precipitating factors. We also integrate these constructs in a model that proposes that many acts of suicide among alcoholics may be viewed as acts of reactive aggression executed in the midst of distress over a lost or threatened relationship. Empirical evidence for the model is discussed along with its limitations. The next generation of research on alcoholism and suicide should include a focus on the interpersonal anlage of suicide in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6S-17S
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume28
Issue number5 SUPPL.
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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