The Association between Bankruptcy and Hospital-Presenting Attempted Suicide: A Record Linkage Study

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Abstract

The associations between admissions to an emergency department following attempted suicide and personal bankruptcy in the preceding and subsequent 2 years were evaluated. Records from a level 1 trauma center (June 1993-December 2002) in Seattle, WA, were linked with case files from the local U.S. District Bankruptcy Court (June 1991 onward). Univariable and multivariable logistic regression models were used to examine the risk of bankruptcy in (i) the 2 years after and (ii) the 2 years before a suicide attempt using a violent method, compared to patients admitted for any other reason. After adjusting for several confounders, patients who had attempted suicide were more likely than other patients to experience bankruptcy in the following 2 years (OR = 2.10, 95% CIs: 1.29, 3.42). A somewhat weaker association was seen with bankruptcy in the preceding 2 years (OR = 1.68, 95% CIs 1.06; 2.67). Attempted suicide is therefore associated with bankruptcy in the preceding and following 2 years. Changes to legislation, improved mental health counselling for those in financial difficulty, and provision of financial advice to those admitted to hospital following a suicide attempt may reduce future cases of serious self-harm and completed suicide.

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