Precipitating Circumstances of Suicide and Alcohol Intoxication Among U.S. Ethnic Groups

Raul Caetano, Mark S. Kaplan, Nathalie Huguet, Kenneth Conner, Bentson H. Mcfarland, Norman Giesbrecht, Kurt B. Nolte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Our goal was to assess the prevalence of 9 different types of precipitating circumstances among suicide decedents, and examine the association between circumstances and postmortem blood alcohol concentration (BAC ≥ 0.08 g/dl) across U.S. ethnic groups. Methods: Data come from the restricted 2003 to 2011 National Violent Death Reporting System, with postmortem information on 59,384 male and female suicide decedents for 17 U.S. states. Results: Among men, precipitating circumstances statistically associated with a BAC ≥ 0.08 g/dl were physical health and job problems for Blacks, and experiencing a crisis, physical health problems, and intimate partner problem for Hispanics. Among women, the only precipitating circumstance associated with a BAC ≥ 0.08 g/dl was substance abuse problems other than alcohol for Blacks. The number of precipitating circumstances present before the suicide was negatively associated with a BAC ≥ 0.08 g/dl for Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics. Conclusions: Selected precipitating circumstances were associated with a BAC ≥ 0.08 g/dl, and the strongest determinant of this level of alcohol intoxication prior to suicide among all ethnic groups was the presence of an alcohol problem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1510-1517
Number of pages8
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Alcohol
  • National Violent Death Reporting System
  • Precipitating Circumstances
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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