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Prevalence and risk factors for suicidal ideation in the multiple sclerosis population

TitlePrevalence and risk factors for suicidal ideation in the multiple sclerosis population
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsViner, R., Patten S. B., Berzins S., Bulloch A. G. M., and Fiest K. M.
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
Pages312 - 316
Date PublishedApril
Keywordscoping, depression, longitudinal studies, multiple sclerosis, suicidal ideation

Objective To estimate the prevalence, incidence and determinants of suicidal ideation in the multiple sclerosis (MS) population. Methods A sample of 188 subjects were randomly selected from a community-based MS clinic registry and participated in as many as 13 interviews over 6 months. Thoughts of "being better off dead" or of "harming oneself" were assessed using item 9 on the Patient Health Questionnaire, Brief (PHQ-9). Results At baseline, the 2-week period prevalence of suicidal ideation was 8.3%. Over the course of 6 months, 22.1% of respondents reported having such thoughts at least once. Survival analysis incorporating baseline PHQ-8 scores as a covariate confirmed that being age 65 and over (HR=4.3, 95% CI 1.7-11.3) and having lower quartile self-efficacy ratings (HR=3.5, 95% CI 1.5-8.2) predicted suicidal ideation. Lower levels of task-oriented coping (treated as a continuous variable) also predicted suicidal ideation after adjustment for depressive symptoms (p=0.015), as did self-reported bladder or bowel symptoms (HR=2.6, 95% CI 1.1-6.0) and difficulties with speaking and swallowing (HR=2.9, 95% CI 1.3-6.8). Associations with MS symptoms were not confounded by depressive symptoms. Conclusion This study identified several potentially modifiable factors that may be useful for preventing suicide in people with MS.

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