Social support as a protective factor in suicide: Findings from two nationally representative samples

Evan M. Kleiman, Richard T. Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Suicide is a problem of worldwide concern and research on possible protective factors is needed. We explored the role of social support as one such factor. Specifically, we hypothesized that increased social support would be associated with decreased likelihood of a lifetime suicide attempt in two nationally representative samples as well as a high-risk subsample. Methods: We analyzed the relationship between social support and lifetime history of a suicide attempt, controlling for a variety of related psychopathology and demographic variables, in the National Comorbidity Study Replication (NCS-R), a United States sample and the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Study (APMS), an English sample. Results: Results indicate that social support is associated with decreased likelihood of a lifetime suicide attempt controlling for a variety of related predictors in both the full US sample (OR=0.68, p<.001) and the full English sample (OR=0.93, p<.01). Limitations: The cross-sectional data do not allow true cause and effect analyses. Conclusions: Our findings suggest social support is associated with decreased likelihood of a lifetime suicide attempt. Social support is a highly modifiable factor that can be used to improve existing suicide prevention programs worldwide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)540-545
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume150
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 5 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Keywords

  • Adult psychiatric morbidity study
  • Epidemiological study
  • National comorbidity study
  • Resiliency
  • Social support
  • Suicide

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