Abstract: Risk Factors of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Related Suicide (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

582P Risk Factors of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Related Suicide

Saturday, January 19, 2019
Continental Parlors 1-3, Ballroom Level (Hilton San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Abha Rai, MSW, PhD Student/Research Assistant, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Y. Joon Choi, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Orion Mowbray, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Background and Purpose: Deaths due to suicide have been increasingly affecting individuals, families and communities throughout the United States (U.S.). According to the estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the tenth leading cause of death among individuals in the U.S. Individuals may commit suicide for a variety of reasons such as mental health issues, depression, substance use or problems with their intimate partner. Therefore, the purpose of the study was to examine the risk factors of intimate partner violence (IPV)-related suicide.

Methods: Data for this study was drawn from the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) dataset for the year 2015, including 47 States. Our analyses included only persons who died due to IPV related circumstances (N=5,126).  Additionally, we used a grouping variable based on region to analyze differences among geographical areas of the U.S. The dependent variable in our study was suicide compared to all other forms of death. The independent variables were age, gender, race, marital status, pregnancy status, physical health, mental health, depression, substance use, region in which the victim resided.  Multivariate analyses using logistic regression was used to predict the correlates of IPV-related suicide.  

Results:  The logistic regression model for IPV-related suicide fitted the data well (𝜒2(1, 9) =46.31, p<0.001) and explained 46.3% of the variance. Of the variables, pregnancy status (OR = 3.10, p < 0.05), mental health (OR = 2.14, p < 0.05), the geographical region (OR = -1.08, p < 0.05) in which the decedent resided, and age (OR = 0.69, p < 0.05) were associated with a higher odds of IPV-related suicide. That is, pregnant individuals had 3.10 times higher odds of committing IPV-related suicide in comparison to individuals that were not pregnant. Individuals with a mental health concern in comparison to the ones with no mental health concern, had 2.14 times higher odds of committing IPV-related suicide. Individuals from the Northeast had 1.08 times higher odds in comparison to those from the South, Midwest and West of committing IPV-related suicide. Last, with an increase in age the odds of committing IPV-related suicide decreased by 0.69 times.

Conclusions and Implications: Pregnancy and mental health have been found to be related to IPV experiences in the past research and were also the strongest risk factors for IPV-related suicide in this study. This finding suggests that inclusion of IPV screening in prenatal care and mental health services may be a promising approach to prevent IPV-related suicide. Additionally, as younger individuals experiencing IPV committed suicide at a higher rate than older individuals, facilitating discussions around healthy intimate relationships and IPV in higher education may help lower IPV-related suicide.  Finally, different rates of IPV-related suicide among geographic regions indicate the need to investigate further the environmental factors that may work as protective factors for IPV-related suicide.