Send to

Choose Destination
J Affect Disord. 2018 May;232:243-251. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2018.02.028. Epub 2018 Feb 17.

Depressive symptoms, alcohol use and coping drinking motives: Examining various pathways to suicide attempts among young men.

Author information

Alcohol Treatment Centre, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Lausanne, Switzerland. Electronic address:
Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of Mississipi Medical Center, Jackson, MS, USA.
Alcohol Treatment Centre, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Lausanne, Switzerland.
La Source, School of Nursing Sciences, University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Western Switzerland (HES-SO).
Alcohol Treatment Centre, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Lausanne, Switzerland; Institute of Social, and Preventive Medicine, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland; Addiction Switzerland, Lausanne, Switzerland; Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; University of the West of England, Bristol, United Kingdom.



Research has identified several correlates of suicidal behaviors including depressive symptoms, alcohol use and coping drinking motives. However, their associations and their role as possible causal mechanisms in the prediction of suicide attempt are not well understood. This study examined, both cross-sectionally and longitudinally, the potential pathways from alcohol use, drinking coping motives, and depression to suicide attempts.


Participants (N = 4617) were young Swiss men (mean age = 19.95) participating in the Cohort Study on Substance Use Risk Factors. Measures of depressive symptoms, alcohol use (total drinks per week, heavy episode drinking) and coping drinking motives were used from the baseline and/or 15-month follow-up assessments to predict follow-up suicide attempt.


Main findings showed indirect associations through depressive symptoms, such that coping drinking motives were positively associated with depressive symptoms, which were in turn positively related to suicide attempts over time (for total drinks per week models, cross-sectional model: B = 0.130, SE = 0.035, 95% CI = 0.072, 0.207; longitudinal model: B = 0.039, SE = 0.013, 95% CI = 0.019, 0.069). Alcohol use was not significantly related to suicide attempt.


Main limitation includes a low prevalence rate for suicide attempt potentially reducing power effects in the analyses and our focus on distal-yet not proximal, role of alcohol use on suicide attempt.


Findings of this study suggest that young men with depressive symptoms and/or those who use alcohol to cope with negative affect may benefit from programs targeting suicidal behaviors.


Alcohol; Coping drinking motives; Depressive symptoms; Suicide; Young adults

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center