Abstract: (see Poster Gallery) Characteristics of and Circumstances Associated with Female Suicide Related to Intimate Partner Problems (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

492P (see Poster Gallery) Characteristics of and Circumstances Associated with Female Suicide Related to Intimate Partner Problems

Saturday, January 14, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Jeongsuk Kim, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of South Florida, FL
Rebecca J. Macy, PhD, L. Richardson Preyer Distinguished Chair and Professor for Strengthening Families, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC
Cynthia F. Rizo, PhD, Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Christopher J. Wretman, PhD, Senior Data Analyst/Research Associate, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Spenser R. Radtke, MSW, Graduate Research Assistant, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Background and Purpose: Suicide research has found that intimate partner problems (IPP), including divorce, conflict, and violence are robust precipitating factors for suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Although suicide triggered by IPP is prevalent in both men and women, IPP-related female suicide may have unique risk factors and circumstances. However, little is known about the distinct circumstances surrounding suicidality among women struggling with IPP. Evidence concerning IPP suicides can inform the development of gender-specific suicide prevention guidelines for social work practice. Accordingly, we aimed to explore the psychosocial circumstances and suicide incident characteristics surrounding female IPP-related suicide using a singular national data set.

Methods: Data were taken from the National Violent Death Reporting System-Restricted Access Database (NVDRS-RAD, 2003-2019). Of the total suicide cases (n=267,804), only the 58,545 (21.9%) female suicide cases were selected for analysis. Prior to analysis, the data were thoroughly checked and cleaned for missingness and errors. The primary analyses were descriptive univariate and bivariate chi-square tests to determine preliminary and exploratory evidence related to the characteristics and circumstances surrounding IPP-related suicide cases relative to non-IPP-related suicide cases. All p values were two-sided, and p values <.05 were considered indicative of significance.

Results: Findings showed that of the 58,545 female suicides, 13,496 cases were related to IPP, indicating that about 23% of female suicide victims struggled with IPP. Overall, compared to non- IPP related suicide, IPP-related suicide was identified at a higher rate in groups that were (a) younger, (b) non-white, (c) of higher education levels, (d) U.S.-born, and (e) pregnant or postpartum (p<.001). IPP-related suicide victims were also more likely than non-IPP-related suicide victims to have experienced previous (a) trauma, (b) mental health problems, (c) alcohol/substance abuse problems, (d) financial challenges, and (e) relational problems with family and others (p<.001). Additionally, compared to non-IPP-related suicides, IPP-related suicides largely occurred at night between 6pm and 6am and at a home or private residence (p<.001). While poisoning was the most common method of female suicide, IPP-related suicide victims tended to use firearms as the most common method.

Conclusions and Implications: Study findings identified that women with IPP struggled not only with IPP itself, but also with previous traumas and psychosocial challenges. Given that IPP, trauma, and mental health problems may be bidirectional and co-occurring, our presentation will focus on providing recommendations for a comprehensive, trauma-informed approach for preventing suicide among women who are facing multiple psychosocial risk factors. We will also discuss that how women’s social and racial vulnerability might be related to suicidal risk. Additionally, the study findings provide novel evidence regarding suicide incidence characteristics such as methods, locations, and time. Although these are preliminary findings, they provide meaningful information in understanding where, when, and how IPP-related female suicides tend to take place. The presentation will provide recommendations for how social work practitioners and scholars can make an important contribution in preventing suicide among women who face IPP. Overall, this work fills an important need in the “Mental Health” SSWR clusters.