Identifying the Social Demographic Correlates of Suicide Bereavement

William Feigelman, John McIntosh, Julie Cerel, David Brent, Nina J. Gutin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

We investigated the demographic correlates associated with suicide bereavement among a representative sample of U.S. adults from the 2016 General Social Survey. A secondary aim of this study was to use this representative data platform to cross-check official data findings of U.S. completed suicides. Questions on suicide bereavement were administered to 1,432 GSS 2016 respondents and these were cross-tabulated with various demographic and social activity variables included in this omnibus survey to investigate whether suicide bereaved respondents shared any distinctive demographic characteristics. Findings showed that friends of the suicide deceased person outnumbered the deceased’s first degree relatives by at least 2 to 1. We also observed older, White, Non-Hispanic, and native born women were over-represented among the suicide bereaved. The suicide bereaved were also less likely to live in the Pacific region, and to live in the nation’s largest cities, and were more likely to come from homes where a gun was owned by someone in the household. More of the suicide bereaved reported themselves to be in poorer physical health and bereaved women were more likely to be Facebook subscribers. These findings are consistent with other data on U.S. suicide patterns and the greater likelihood of firearms being utilized in suicide deaths. These revealed demographic correlates of suicide offer valuable information to helping agencies seeking to reach potential clients among the suicide bereaved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-288
Number of pages16
JournalArchives of Suicide Research
Volume23
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 3 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Dan's Plan Foundation, Swarm Family Fund at Indiana University South Bend, The Irving Gutin Foundation, Kristin Rita Strouse Foundation, Save Organization, and Norma Alkon Trust.

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Dan’s Plan Foundation, Swarm Family Fund at Indiana University South Bend, The Irving Gutin Foundation, Kristin Rita Strouse Foundation, Save Organization, and Norma Alkon Trust.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Copyright © International Academy for Suicide Research.

Keywords

  • demographic correlates
  • firearms ownership
  • friends’ suicides
  • suicide bereavement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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