Both suicidality and alcohol use disorders are significant public health concerns among firefighters, and alcohol use is associated with increased suicide risk. In addition, firefighters endorse high rates of symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Researchers examined associations between alcohol dependence and suicide risk among a large sample of firefighters (n=2,883, all male) in a recent study. They examined the indirect effects of alcohol dependence on suicidality outcomes, via both depression and posttraumatic stress, using structural equation modeling. The firefighters completed a self-report survey, containing measures of alcohol use, suicidality, PTSD, and depressive symptoms. They found:
- The latent alcohol dependence variable was directly related to the latent suicide risk variable.
- Alcohol dependence was indirectly related to suicide risk among firefighters, via latent depression and posttraumatic stress variables.
- However, when depression and posttraumatic stress latent variables were added into the model, alcohol dependence was no longer associated with suicide risk.
Martin CE, Vujanovic AA, Paulus DJ, Bartlett B, Gallagher MW, Tran JK. Alcohol use and suicidality in firefighters: Associations with depressive symptoms and posttraumatic stress. [Published online ahead of print January 7, 2017]. Compr Psychiatry. doi:10.1016/j.comppsych.2017.01.002.