History of Attempted Suicide and Reckless Driving: A Cross-Sectional Study in Primary Care

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Objective: In this study, we explored whether a past history of suicide attempts is associated with a history of reckless driving (ie, driving citations).

Method: Using a cross-sectional design in a consecutive sample of primary care outpatients from a suburban setting in Ohio, we surveyed men and women (N = 419), aged 18–65 years, who were seeking nonemergent medical care during April 2009. With yes/no response options, we queried participants about whether they (1) had ever attempted suicide and (2) had tried to hurt or kill themselves. We also asked if they had ever been cited for any of 29 driving violations. After the elimination of participants who responded illogically to the 2 items exploring suicide attempts, the working sample was reduced to 377 participants.

Results: According to statistical analyses, compared to participants who did not acknowledge histories of suicide attempts (n = 337), participants who acknowledged histories of suicide attempts (n = 40) were no more likely to report a greater number of different types of moving violations or automobile/motorcycle accidents (ie, high-risk driving behaviors). However, participants with past suicide attempts reported a statistically significantly greater number of different types of nonmoving violations (P = .001) as well as being cited for leaving the scene of an accident (P = .05), driving while intoxicated (P = .001), and having a driver’s license revoked (P = .001) than those without past attempts.

Conclusions: While a past history of suicide attempts does not appear to overtly predict reckless driving behavior, there appear to be other associated and specific problematic driving behaviors.

Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 2010;12(4):e1–e4

Submitted: September 14, 2009; accepted November 17, 2009.

Published online: August 5, 2010 (doi:10.4088/PCC.09m00888blu).

Corresponding author: Randy A. Sansone, MD, Sycamore Primary Care Center, 2115 Leiter Rd, Miamisburg, Ohio 45342 (Randy.sansone@khnetwork.org).

Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 2010;12(4):e1-e4