206201 Description of Suicides Preceded by Driving While Intoxicated Arrests--National Violent Death Reporting System, 2003-2007

Monday, November 9, 2009: 5:35 PM

Robert Matthew Gladden, PhD , Division of Violence Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Alexander E. Crosby, MD, MPH , Division of Violence Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA

Suicide results in approximately 32,000 deaths annually, or 11 per 100,000 people. Personal crises, such as arrest for driving while intoxicated (DWI), may indicate acute or underlying risks for suicide. However, the prevalence and circumstances of suicide following DWI arrest remain unclear. This study describes suicides preceded by DWI arrest and investigates whether their circumstances differ from other suicides.


The National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) links death certificate, law enforcement and coroner/medical examiner data from 17 states. Suicides preceded by DWI arrest in 2003-2007 were described and the association of these suicides with nine suicide circumstances among males was tested with hierarchical logistic regression. There were too few female suicides preceded by DWI arrests for analysis.


There were 54.2 suicides per 100,000 DWI arrests across 14 states from 2005-2006. Of the 608 suicides preceded by DWI arrest, 19.9% occurred within 48 hours of the arrest and another 57.7% occurred while the court case was pending. Decedents with a DWI arrest were more likely to be currently depressed (Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR)=1.5, 95% CI =1.31.8) and have job problems (AOR=1.9, 95% CI=1.5-2.3) than other suicide decedents.


Additional research is required to understand whether suicidal ideation precedes risk for DWI or if cumulative stressors associated with DWI arrest exacerbate risk for suicide. Nonetheless, the results indicate the need for coordinated and timely support services for DWI perpetrators to address underlying and situational stressors associated with suicide following DWI arrest, including depression and job problems.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe suicides preceded by DWI arrests 2. Identify and discuss circumstances associated with the suicides preceded by DWI arrest that inform prevention and intervention efforts 3. Describe the benefits of using hierarchical modeling when analyzing surveillance data collected across multiple states

Keywords: Suicide, DUI

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have had previous successful experience presenting material at national scientific conferences including previous APHA annual meetings and have background working on the topic of child maltreatment.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Violence Epidemiology
See more of: Epidemiology