Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Epidemiology and Biostatistics


Dr. Marnin J. Heisel


In the present study, associations between suicide ideation and demographic factors, medical comorbidities, medications, and Axis-I mental disorders among 745 patients age 65 years and older recruited from primary care practices in the Northeastern United States were assessed. Cross-sectional associations between various risk indices and patient self-reported suicide ideation were evaluated using multivariate logistic regression. Findings indicated that single and widowed participants were more likely to report suicide ideation than were married participants. Expression of suicide ideation was further associated with presence of major depressive disorder, minor depression, an anxiety disorder, more functional impairment, sleep disturbance, and vision impairment. Use o f benzodiazepines or other sedatives was significantly associated with suicide ideation independent of having an anxiety disorder. Having a history of suicide ideation

emerged as the strongest predictor of current suicide ideation. These findings have implications for enhancing clinical detection of suicide risk and improving treatment with older adults in a primary care context.



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