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Psychol Addict Behav. 2012 Sep;26(3):609-14. doi: 10.1037/a0026916. Epub 2012 Jan 30.

Association of solitary binge drinking and suicidal behavior among emerging adult college students.

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University of Alaska Anchorage, Department of Psychology, Anchorage, AK 99508, USA.

Erratum in

  • Psychol Addict Behav. 2012 Sep;26(3):620.


Emerging adult college students who binge drink in solitary contexts (i.e., while alone) experience greater depression and suicidal ideation than do students who only binge drink in social contexts, suggesting that they may be at greater risk for suicidal behavior. This study examined the association of a previous suicide attempt, one of the best predictors of future suicide attempts and suicide, and severity of recent suicidal ideation with drinking in solitary and social contexts. Participants were binge drinking, emerging adult (18- to 25-year-old) college students (N=182) drawn from two studies of college drinkers. A logistic regression analysis revealed that both suicide attempt history and severity of suicidal ideation were significantly associated with a greater likelihood of being a solitary binge drinker as opposed to only a social binge drinker. Students with a previous suicide attempt were nearly four times more likely to be solitary binge drinkers. Multiple regression analyses revealed that suicide attempt history was significantly associated with greater frequency and quantity of drinking in solitary, but not social contexts. Suicidal ideation was significantly associated with drinks per solitary drinking day, but not frequency of solitary drinking once suicide attempt history was accounted for. Given the associations found between solitary binge drinking and a history of suicide attempts, as well as greater severity of recent suicidal ideation, it appears that these students are in need of suicide prevention efforts, including treatment efforts aimed at reducing binge drinking.

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