January 1979

Suicide and AlcoholismInterpersonal Loss Confirmed as a Predictor

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis (Dr Murphy), and the Community Mental Health Center, Lewiston, Idaho (Dr Armstrong). Dr Hermele is in private practice in Goshen, NY. Drs Fischer and Clendenin are in private practice in St Louis.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1979;36(1):65-69. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1979.01780010071007

• We earlier reported that nearly one third of a consecutive series of 31 alcoholics who committed suicide had experienced loss of a close interpersonal relationship within six weeks or less of their death. In a replication study of 50 additional unselected alcoholic suicides, we found that 26% had experienced such loss within six weeks. As before, the distribution of such events was strikingly and significantly skewed toward the final weeks of the subject's life. This powerful confirmation gives added significance to such loss as a predictor of suicide among alcoholics.