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A preliminary examination of the association between drinking as a typical coping strategy and level of acute alcohol consumption prior to a suicide attempt.
Gauthier JM, Cole AB, Bagge CL. A preliminary examination of the association between drinking as a typical coping strategy and level of acute alcohol consumption prior to a suicide attempt. Psychiatry Research. 2019 Dec 1; 282:112626.
Drinking to cope is associated with suicide ideation and attempts. Event-based research shows drinking, particularly when alcohol is consumed in large quantities, increases the intensity of suicidal thoughts and immediate risk for attempt. Such findings suggest those who typically drink to cope may be especially likely to drink heavily in the hours preceding a suicide attempt. In the first examination of the association between regular use of alcohol as a coping strategy and acute alcohol consumption prior to a suicide attempt, participants included 130 patients hospitalized for a recent attempt. The number of drinks consumed in the acute period preceding the attempt, as well as past-year heavy drinking frequency, typical drinking motives, and depressive symptoms were assessed. The unique impacts of coping motives on odds of consuming any alcohol, and of using specific amounts of alcohol in the acute period, were determined through binary and multinomial logistic regressions. Results demonstrated that commonly drinking for coping motives increased the odds of heavy drinking - but not of using alcohol at low levels - during the acute period. Results held after adjusting for relevant covariates. Clinicians should assess drinking motives and prioritize prevention of drinking to cope to reduce risk of alcohol-related suicide attempts.