Suicidal Ideation and Risk Factors in Primary Care Patients with Anxiety Disorders
Published In: Psychiatry Research, v. 209, no. 1, Aug. 2013, p. 60-65
Posted on RAND.org on August 01, 2013
The presence of an anxiety disorder is associated with greater frequency of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Given the high personal and societal costs of suicidal behaviors, suicide prevention is a priority. Understanding factors present within individuals with anxiety disorders that increase suicide risk may inform prevention efforts. The aims of the present study were to examine the prevalence of suicidal ideation and behaviors, as well as factors associated with suicide risk in patients with anxiety disorders in primary care. Data from a large scale randomized controlled study were analyzed to assess prevalence of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, as well as factors associated with suicide risk. Results revealed that suicidal ideation and behaviors were relatively common in this group. When examining mental and physical health factors jointly, presence of depression, mental health-related impairment, and social support each uniquely accounted for variance in suicide risk score. Methodological limitations include cross-sectional data collection and lack of information on comorbid personality disorders. Moreover, patients included were from a clinical trial with exclusion criteria that may limit generalizability. Results highlight the complex determinants of suicidal behavior and the need for more nuanced suicide assessment in this population, including evaluation of comorbidity and general functioning.