How frequent is suicide in the spinal cord injury population? With that as a focus, this study of 31,039 persons injured since 1973 and treated in the federal spinal cord injury care system within one year after injury, determined 107 confirmed suicides. An additional 84 deaths from trauma were suicidal in nature. Thus, Michael DeVivo estimated that 145 deaths from the total studied were suicides.
The most common suicidal death was by gunshot (57%). This was followed by drug overdose (17%), hanging (7%), fall from heights (6%), cutting instruments (5%), unspecified (5%), and drowning (3%). Suicides were most likely to happen during the second to fifth year after injury.
Gender, cause of injury, or injury severity were not found to predict suicide. However, age played a role. Individuals in the twenties and thirties were more likely to die by suicide compared to other causes than a person at least 60 years of age.
Multiple logistic regression was conducted to compare persons who commited suicide with a person who died as a result of other causes. Relative to all other causes of death, persons with paraplegia were 13.9 times more likely to die of suicide, and person with low level tetraplegia (C-5-C-8) were 5.8 times more likely to die of suicide than persons with high level tetraplegia (C-1-C-4), all other things equal." (p. 36). #1875 EndNotes
DeVivo, M. J. (1999). Epidemiology of suicide following spinal cord injury. In Thirteenth Annual Conference of the American Association of Spinal Cord Injury Psychologists and Social Workers (p. 36). Symposium conducted at the meeting of the American Association of Spinal Cord Injury Psychologists and Social Workers, Las Vegas, Nevada.