Proportion of suicides attributable to bereavement by the suicide of a first-degree relative or partner

Acta Psychiatrica ScandinavicaScott Cunningham MD PhD, et al. | November 11, 2022

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Approximately 25% of the population grieves the loss of a family member, relative, or close friend during their lifetime. As a result, the suicide, suicide attempt, and new-onset psychiatric disorder rates increase.

The current study showed that 1 in 145 suicides in Denmark are bereavement-associated, 60% of which could be prevented.

A nationwide nested case-control study was conducted in Denmark. All suicides that occurred between 1980 and 2017 (n=32,248) were categorized based on bereavement for a family member or partner, non-suicide bereavement, and no bereavement.

The odds ratio (OR) for bereavement-associated suicide compared to no bereavement was 2.90. The OR for bereavement-associated suicide compared to non-suicide bereavement was 1.48. There were no gender differences in the bereavement-associated suicide rates.

It is estimated that 0.69% of all suicides and 60% of bereavement-associated suicides in Denmark could be prevented by addressing all factors related to increased suicide risk among the bereaved.

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