BMC Psychiatry. 2023 Jan 3;23(1):1. doi: 10.1186/s12888-022-04495-w.
BACKGROUND: Incidents of suicide can be categorized into three main types: solitary suicides, suicides following homicide, and suicide pacts. Although these three suicide incidents vary by definition, no studies to-date have simultaneously examined and compared them for potential differences. The objective of the current study was to empirically and descriptively compare solitary suicides, suicides following homicide, and suicide pacts in the United States.
METHODS: Restricted-access data from the National Violent Death Report System for 2003-2019 for 262,679 solitary suicides, 4,352 suicides following homicide, and 450 suicide pacts were used. Pairwise comparisons of the three suicide incident types were made for demographic factors, method of suicide, preceding circumstances, mental health status, and toxicology findings.
RESULTS: Solitary suicides, suicides following homicide, and suicide pacts have distinct profiles, with statistically significant (p < 0.05) differences across all pairwise comparisons of sex, race, ethnicity, marital status, education, method of suicide, financial problems, interpersonal relationship problems, physical health problems, mental health problems, mood disorders, suicide attempt history, and opiate use at the time of death.
CONCLUSION: Despite sharing a few commonalities, solitary suicides, suicides following homicide, and suicide pacts represent distinct phenomena. Each of these suicide incident types likely have their own unique prevention pathways.