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J Stud Alcohol. 1996 Sep;57(5):543-8.

Suicide attempts and alcohol consumption in an emergency room sample.

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Division of Epidemiological and Social Sciences, Mexican Institute of Psychiatry, Mexico D.F., Mexico.



The aim of this study was to obtain an epidemiologic measure of association between suicide attempts and alcohol consumption in eight emergency room (ER) hospitals.


All patients were interviewed and breath tested for alcohol consumption. The data were analyzed using the case-control methodology. Cases were patients (N = 40; 21 male) admitted to ER because of a suicide attempt. The control group comprised patients (N = 372) admitted to ER because of accidents that are less frequently reported as alcohol related (i.e., workplace accidents, animal bites, and recreational accidents, except drowning).


The proportion of suicide attempts under the effects of alcohol was significantly higher than that of the control group. The bivariate odds ratios (and 95% confidence intervals) for self-report of alcohol consumption in the 6 hours prior to the suicide attempt were: abstainers (baseline); 0.001-100 g of alcohol = 2.01 (0.44, 7.85); > 100 g = 31.11 (10.13, 98.61). For habitual alcohol consumption; abstainers (baseline); 0.001-100 g of alcohol = 0.67 (0.25, 1.77); > 100 g = 1.10 (0.44, 2.75). For Alco-Sensor: < or = 9 mg of alcohol/100 ml of blood (baseline); 10.99 mg/100 ml = 8.21 (2.81, 23.73); > or = 100 mg/100 ml = 2.97 (0.42, 15.95). Multiple logistic models did not change these findings.


Alcohol consumption prior to the suicide attempt is a more important risk factor than the habitual alcohol consumption pattern. New research should emphasize life events and psychiatric variables and find explanations for differences between the self-reported and the Alco-Sensor estimates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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