High Rate of Suicide Attempts Seen in Arthritis Patients

cppsuicidetreeHigh Rate of Suicide Attempts Seen in Arthritis Patients, According to Canadian Study


People with arthritis have twofold higher suicide rates than the general population, according to new research from the University of Toronto.

Investigators analyzed data from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey – Mental Health, which included 4,885 individuals with arthritis and 16,589 without arthritis, looking for “factors associated with ever having attempted suicide.”

The study results showed that one in 26 men with arthritis had lifetime suicide attempts, compared with one in 50 in the general population. The lifetime prevalence of a suicide attempt was 5.3% in women with arthritis, compared with 3.2% in the general population. Even after adjusting for age, income, chronic pain and history of mental disorders, the odds of a suicide attempt in individuals without arthritis was still 46% lower than in those with arthritis.

“When we focused on adults with arthritis, we found that those who had experienced chronic parental domestic violence or sexual abuse during their childhood, had more than three times the odds of suicide attempts compared to adults with arthritis who had not experienced these childhood adversities,” said lead author Esme Fuller-Thomson, Sandra Rotman Endowed Chair in the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and Institute for Life Course & Aging at the University of Toronto, in a press statement. “The magnitude of these associations with suicide attempts was comparable to that associated with depression, the most well-known risk factor for suicide attempts.”

Co-author and doctoral student, Stephanie Baird, cautioned that the cross-sectional nature of the survey did not allow the researchers to establish causality.

“We do not know when the arthritis began nor when the suicide attempts occurred,” she said. “It is possible that other factors that were not available in the survey may confound the relationship.” She cited, for example, that childhood poverty has been strongly linked to both the development of arthritis and suicide risk. Other risk factors include a history of drug or alcohol dependence, anxiety disorders, younger age, and poverty and low education.

The paper was published online in the journal Rheumatology International (2016 Jun 14. [Epub ahead of print]).

2 Responses

  1. Useless waste of research dollars that could have went elsewhere like real pain research.

  2. ”we don’t know,”’ well dahhhhhhhh,,how bout forced endurement of physical pain!!!!!This lady is a idiot,,the lack of proper pain management is killing these folks,,,,,,mary

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