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Younger Adults Affected by US Suicide Attempts

JAMA Psychiatry; ePub 2017 Sep 13; Olfson, et al

A recent overall increase in suicide attempts among adults in the US has disproportionately affected younger adults with less formal education and those with antisocial personality disorder, anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, and a history of violence, according to a recent study. Data came from the 2004-2005 wave 2 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) and the 2012-2013 NESARC-III. These nationally representative surveys asked identical questions to 69,341 adults (42.8% men and 57.2% women, aged ≥21 years), concerning the occurrence and timing of suicide attempts. Researchers found:

  • Out of total participants, the weighted percentage of those making a recent suicide attempt increased from 0.62% in 2004-2005 (221 of 34,629) to 0.79% in 2012-2013 (305 of 34,712; age, sex, and race/ethnicity [ARD], 0.17%).
  • In both surveys, most adults with recent suicide attempts were female (2004-2005, 60.17%; 2012-2013, 60.94%) and aged <50 years (2004-2005, 84.75%; 2012-2013, 80.38%).
  • The ARD for suicide attempts was significantly larger among adults aged 21 to 34 years than among adults aged ≥65 years.


Olfson M, Blanco C, Wall M, et al. National trends in suicide attempts among adults in the United States. [Published online ahead of print September 13, 2017]. JAMA Psychiatry. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.2582.

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