Divergence in contributing factors for suicide among men and women in Kentucky: Recommendations to raise public awareness

Sabrina Walsh, Richard Clayton, Li Liu, Sue Hodges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objectives. The primary purpose of this study was to compile demographic information from 1999 to 2005 on suicides and examine specifically toxicology differences between men and women dying by suicide and differences in what type of intimate partner problems (IPPs) were cited as a precipitating circumstance. Methods. In addition to death certificate data, coroner investigation reports were available for more than three-quarters of cases in 2005 detailing precipitating factors leading up to suicide. We linked toxicology results to death certificates and coroner investigation reports in the Kentucky Violent Death Reporting System database for statewide analysis. Results. In 2005, IPP was documented as a contributing factor in 128 (29%) of all suicide cases where the circumstances were known. In 54 (42%) of the 128 cases, the coroner noted that the decedent's intimate was in the process of leaving, breaking up, had recently left, had recently separated, had recently filed for divorce, was awaiting divorce, or had a divorce recently finalized. Of those 54 cases involving IPPs, most (87%) of the suicide victims were men and were significantly different from the women. Conclusions. As a result of this study, we have two recommendations: (1) partnering with the media and community-based programs and services to systematically disseminate information on issues such as male IPPs and suicide, and (2) continuing and expanding the use of violent death surveillance to improve risk factor identification. With improved data gathering, targeted interventions can better address the various dynamics influencing the decision to take one's own life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)861-867
Number of pages7
JournalPublic Health Reports
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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