The International Handbook of Suicide Prevention: Research, Policy and Practice

By Rory C. O’Connor; Jane Pirkis | Go to book overview

6
Substance Use Disorders
and Suicidal Behavior
A Conceptual Model
Kenneth R. Conner and Mark A. Ilgen
Introduction
This chapter reviews evidence linking the presence of alcohol use disorders (AUDs) and some drug use disorders (DUDs) to suicide attempts and suicide. The chapter focuses on key distal risk factors (severity of substance use disorder (SUD), aggression/impulsivity, negative affectivity) and proximal risk factors (active substance use and symptoms, interpersonal stress, depressive symptoms) for suicidal behavior within SUD populations. A theoretical model is presented that posits that the distal risk factors (e.g., negative affectivity) increase the probability for the proximal risk factors (e.g., depressive symptoms), which in turn increase the likelihood of suicidal behavior. The proximal risk factors are conceptualized as partial mediators of the relationship between the distal variables and suicidal behavior. Key decisions that informed the development of the model along with limitations and caveats are explained. The chapter concludes with a discussion of ways to test the conceptual framework, directions for future studies, and resources pertaining to SUDs and suicidal behavior.
Terms Used Throughout
AUD = alcohol use disorder including alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence.
DUD = drug use disorder (nonalcohol) including abuse or dependence on cocaine, opiates, and so forth, excluding tobacco dependence.
SUD = substance use disorder inclusive of one or more AUD or DUD.
Suicide attempt = self-injurious behavior with at least some intent to die with a nonfatal outcome (note that for the chapter, the term refers to nonfatal attempts only to distinguish them from suicide).
Suicide = self-injurious behavior with at least some intent to die that results in death.

The International Handbook of Suicide Prevention, Second Edition. Edited by Rory C. O’Connor and Jane Pirkis. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Published 2016 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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