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Characterizing Alcohol Use Disorders and Suicidal Ideation in Young Women

Arpana Agrawal, Anna M. Constantino, Kathleen K. Bucholz, Anne Glowinski, Pamela A. F. Madden, Andrew C. Heath, Michael T. Lynskey

Objective: Alcohol use disorders (AUDs) and suicidal ideation (SI) co-occur, yet few studies have investigated the risk and protective factors that influence their comorbidity. Method: Data from 3,787 twin women ages 1827 years were analyzed. AUD was defined as a lifetime history of alcohol abuse or dependence as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. SI was coded as a lifetime report of any SI, and all subjects were queried about SI. Subjects were divided into those with neither AUD nor SI (AUD-SI-), those with AUD but no SI (AUD+SI-), those with SI but no AUD (AUD-SI+), and those with comorbid AUD and SI (AUD+SI+). Association with multiple measures of psychopathology, negative life events, personality, and family history was assessed using multinomial logistic regression. Results: Women with AUD were at 3.1 (95% confidence interval [2.5, 3.8]) odds of also reporting a lifetime history of SI. Psychopathology and negative life events were consistently high in the AUD+SI+ group. AUD+SI+ women also were more likely to report drinking to cope. Substance use was more common in the AUD+SI- versus the AUD-SI+ women, whereas major depressive disorder, social phobia, and panic attacks were more commonly reported by the AUD-SI+ versus the AUD+SI- women. Conclusions: The comorbidity between AUD and SI is characterized in young women by co-occurring psychopathology, drinking to cope, and negative life events. (J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs, 74, 406412, 2013)