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J Affect Disord. 2014 Jan;152-154:416-21. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2013.10.007. Epub 2013 Oct 10.

Living alone, obesity, and smoking increase risk for suicide independently of depressive mood findings from the population-based MONICA/KORA Augsburg cohort study.

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LVR-Klinik Köln, Cologne, Germany; Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Goethe-University Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany. Electronic address:



Suicide is strongly associated with mental disorders, particularly with depression. There is insufficient knowledge to what extent sociodemographic and behavioral characteristics contribute to suicide risk.


A population-based cohort study on three independent cross-sectional MONICA/KORA Augsburg surveys with 12,888 subjects (6456 men, 6432 women) was followed up on average for 12.0 years. Information on sociodemographic characteristics, chronic disease conditions, smoking habits, alcohol consumption, depressive symptoms, personality type, and other psychodiagnostic parameters was assessed by standardized interviews. Cox proportional hazards regression analyses were used to compute hazard ratios (HRs) as estimates of relative risks for suicide mortality. Additionally, population-attributable risks were calculated.


Within the follow-up period, a total of 1449 persons had died, 38 of them by suicide. Although several variables were associated with increased risk in the basic analyses, only obesity (HR=2.73), smoking (HR=2.23), and living alone (HR=2.19) remained significantly associated with suicide additionally to male sex (HR=3.57) and depressed mood (HR=2.01) in a multivariate analysis.


The generalization of our findings to countries with different social, economic or cultural conditions may be questioned.


Our findings extend the knowledge about sociodemographic and behavioral risk factors for suicide in the general population: Suicide prevention measures should not consider only subjects with mental disorders but also address other adverse conditions.


General population; Risk factors; Suicide

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