UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Self-Reported Patterns of Use of Alcohol and Drugs After Suicide Bereavement and Other Sudden Losses: A Mixed Methods Study of 1,854 Young Bereaved Adults in the UK

Pitman, A; Stevenson, F; King, M; Osborn, D; (2020) Self-Reported Patterns of Use of Alcohol and Drugs After Suicide Bereavement and Other Sudden Losses: A Mixed Methods Study of 1,854 Young Bereaved Adults in the UK. Frontiers in Psychology , 11 , Article 1024. 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01024. Green open access

[img]
Preview
Text
Pitman et al 2020 Self-Reported Patterns of Use of Alcohol and Drugs After Suicide Bereavement and Other Sudden Losses A Mixed Methods Study of 1,854 Young Bereaved Adults in the UK.pdf - Published version

Download (219kB) | Preview

Abstract

Background: Bereavement, particularly by suicide, is associated with an excess risk of mortality and of physical and psychological morbidity. Use of alcohol as a coping mechanism is suggested as a contributing factor. However, studies describing substance use after bereavement rely on diagnostic data, lacking a more fine-grained understanding of patterns of substance use when grieving. We aimed to use mixed methods to compare patterns of substance use after bereavement by suicide and other sudden deaths among young adults in the UK. Methods: Using an online survey throughout 37 UK higher education institutions we collected free text responses from 1,854 young adults who had experienced sudden bereavement. We conducted content analysis of free text responses to an open question about patterns of alcohol and drug use following the bereavement, measuring frequencies of coded categories. Collapsing these categories into binary outcomes reflecting increased use of alcohol or drugs, we used multivariable logistic regression to quantify the associations between mode of bereavement and increased post-bereavement substance use. Results: Of 1,854 eligible respondents, 353 reported bereavement by suicide, 395 by accidental death, and 1,106 by sudden natural causes. The majority of the sample reported no increase in their use of alcohol (58%) or unprescribed drugs (85%) after the bereavement. Overall 33% had increased their alcohol use at some point after the bereavement, whilst 12% had increased their use of drugs. People bereaved by suicide were significantly more likely to describe an increase in substance use (adjusted OR = 1.29; 95% CI = 1.00–1.66; p = 0.049) than people bereaved by sudden natural causes, as were people bereaved by non-suicide unnatural deaths (adjusted OR = 1.32; 95% CI = 1.03–1.68; p = 0.026). Conclusion: Just under half of young UK adults who experience sudden bereavement increase their alcohol use afterwards, and very few increase their use of drugs. People bereaved by suicide or non-suicide unnatural deaths may be more likely than people bereaved by sudden natural causes to use substances as part of the grieving process, and may have a greater need for monitoring of potential harms. Understanding the reasons for substance use will help primary care and bereavement practitioners screen and address needs appropriately.

Type: Article
Title: Self-Reported Patterns of Use of Alcohol and Drugs After Suicide Bereavement and Other Sudden Losses: A Mixed Methods Study of 1,854 Young Bereaved Adults in the UK
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01024
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01024
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Alcohol, drugs, substance misuse, bereavement, grief, content analysis, qualitative methods
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Primary Care and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10098438
Downloads since deposit
14Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item