Risk of Suicide, Homicide Both Higher at Night

Variance in hourly risk by age and blood alcohol level seen for both suicide, homicide
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Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

FRIDAY, June 7, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of suicide and homicide is higher at night than might be expected based on the number of people awake at that time, according to a study published online May 29 in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

Andrew S. Tubbs, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Tucson, and colleagues assessed how risk of suicide and homicide varies hour to hour and differs across subgroups. Analysis included 78,647 suicides and 50,526 homicides identified from the National Violent Death Reporting System.

The researchers found that suicide counts peaked at 12:00 a.m., while homicide counts peaked at 10:00 to 11:00 p.m. Population wakefulness was associated with a fivefold greater risk for suicide at 3:00 a.m. (adjusted incident risk ratio, 5.20) and an eightfold greater risk for homicide at 2:00 a.m. (adjusted incident risk ratio, 8.04), when adjusting for demographics. There was variance seen in hourly risk for suicide by age, ethnicity, blood alcohol level, and current partner conflict, while hourly risk for homicide varied by sex and blood alcohol level.

"Additional studies are needed to clarify whether evidence-based interventions to improve sleep and reduce nocturnal wakefulness can reduce risks and, in so doing, prevent these tragic outcomes," the authors write.

Two authors disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries.

Abstract/Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

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