Suicide in widowed persons: A psychological autopsy comparison of recently and remotely bereaved older subjects

Paul R. Duberstein, Yeates Conwell, Christopher Cox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Using the psychological autopsy method, the authors sought to determine whether widowed people who commit suicide more than 4 years after their spouse's death (n=21) can be clinically distinguished from those who commit suicide after a shorter period of widowhood (n = 14). The latter had a higher rate of psychiatric treatment (P=0.018), early loss/separation (P=0.03), and a nonsignificantly higher rate of lifetime substance abuse (P = 0.07). Spousal bereavement increases the likelihood of physician visits, so the recently widowed represent a population for whom interventions may be readily implemented. Clinicians should monitor suicide risk in their recently widowed patients, especially those with psychiatric, substance abuse, and/or early loss/separation histories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)328-334
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Volume6
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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