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Perceived Stigma of Sudden Bereavement as a Risk Factor for Suicidal Thoughts and Suicide Attempt: Analysis of British Cross-Sectional Survey Data on 3387 Young Bereaved Adults

Pitman, A; Rantell, K; Marston, L; King, M; Osborn, D; (2017) Perceived Stigma of Sudden Bereavement as a Risk Factor for Suicidal Thoughts and Suicide Attempt: Analysis of British Cross-Sectional Survey Data on 3387 Young Bereaved Adults. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health , 14 (3) , Article 286. 10.3390/ijerph14030286. Green open access

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Abstract

The sudden death of a friend or relative, particularly by suicide, is a risk factor for suicide. People who experience sudden bereavement report feeling highly stigmatised by the loss, potentially influencing access to support. We assessed whether perceived stigma following sudden bereavement is associated with suicidal thoughts and suicide attempt. We analysed cross-sectional survey data on 3387 young adults bereaved by the sudden death of a close contact. We tested the association of high versus low perceived stigma (on the stigma sub-scale of the Grief Experience Questionnaire) with post-bereavement suicidal ideation and suicide attempt, using random effects logistic regression, adjusting for socio-demographic factors, pre-bereavement psychopathology, and mode of sudden bereavement (natural causes/unnatural causes/suicide). Subjects with high perceived stigma scores were significantly more likely to report post-bereavement suicidal thoughts (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 2.74; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.93-3.89) and suicide attempt (AOR = 2.73; 95% CI = 2.33-3.18) than those with low stigma scores. People who feel highly stigmatised by a sudden bereavement are at increased risk of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempt, even taking into account prior suicidal behaviour. General practitioners, bereavement counsellors, and others who support people bereaved suddenly, should consider inquiring about perceived stigma, mental wellbeing, and suicidal thoughts, and directing them to appropriate sources of support.

Type: Article
Title: Perceived Stigma of Sudden Bereavement as a Risk Factor for Suicidal Thoughts and Suicide Attempt: Analysis of British Cross-Sectional Survey Data on 3387 Young Bereaved Adults
Location: Switzerland
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph14030286
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14030286
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Bereavement, depression, risk factor, self-harm, stigma, suicide, support
UCL classification: 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 Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Department of Neuromuscular Diseases
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Primary Care and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1544899
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