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Low IQ linked to suicide attempts
[Posted: Fri 04/06/2010 by Deborah Condon www.irishhealth.com]
A large-scale study involving over 1.1 million men has found a direct association between lower IQ and attempted suicide.
According to a team of international researchers, suicide is a major cause of mortality in young adults, particularly young men. Attempted suicide causes many emergency hospital admissions and such attempts are a strong predictor of subsequent fatal suicides.
There is growing evidence that intelligence (cognitive function) may have a role in the causes of attempted suicide, but the nature of this relationship is uncertain.
Researchers from the UK, Sweden and Australia set out to investigate the possible link between intelligence and suicide attempts.
They looked at 1,109,475 men born in Sweden between 1950 and 1976. The men were followed up over a 24-year period and the researchers used hospital admissions data to monitor their hospital attendances.
They found there were 17,736 (1.6%) cases of men being admitted to hospital for attempted suicide.
After adjusting for age and socioeconomic status, the researchers found that men with lower IQ scores were more likely to have attempted suicide by any means.
In fact, men in the lowest IQ group were almost nine times more likely to have a hospital admission for attempted suicide compared to men in the highest IQ group.
Hospital admissions for psychosis occurring before any suicide attempts were identified because the researchers also wanted to examine the role of psychosis.
Psychosis is a mental disorder characterised by a loss of contact with reality, such as schizophrenia. Psychotic symptoms can include hallucinations, delusions and severe thought disturbances.
A total of 12,328 (1.1%) of the men were identified as psychotic.
Further analysis showed that IQ-attempted suicide associations were restricted to participants without psychosis and there was no marked impact of IQ on attempted suicide risk on those with psychosis.
The researchers said there were many reasons for the association between IQ and suicide, such as the fact that people with a lower IQ tended to have lower socioeconomic status and lower income, so might experience more social and financial hardships leading to an increase in suicidal thoughts and behaviours.
Low IQ has also been linked to poor health behaviours such as binge drinking, which increases the risk of suicide.
"A greater understanding of mechanisms underlying these associations may provide opportunities and strategies for prevention," the researchers concluded.
Details of these findings are published in the British Medical Journal.
|Anonymous Posted: 14/06/2010 11:33|
Is this connected with less and less job opportunities for those with a lower iq, and hence less satisfaction with life and less social interaction than in previous years?
|buzz Posted: 15/06/2010 09:36|
They did specify that the nature of the relationsip between IQ and suicide is uncertain. Though the first thought that comes to mind is indeed that perhaps those with lower IQ's do not provide as many opportunities for themselves to be successful, or maybe they just fall through the system.
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