In the study of factors that influence suicidal ideation, age, genetic risks, psychological problems, and even socioeconomic status have been researched at length. But the relationship between cognitive ability and suicide has been less investigated. To illuminate this association and better understand the risk it poses for suicidal behavior, Dr. A. Sorberg of the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and the Department of Public Health Sciences at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden recently analyzed data that was part of longitudinal study. Sorberg theorized that individuals with low cognitive ability would have a higher risk for death by suicide or suicide attempts than those with higher IQs and stronger cognitive abilities.
Sorberg examined data from over 49,000 men, which included their IQs in early adulthood. This information was obtained 36 years prior to the beginning of this study, and Sorberg used the interim data from hospital records to determine suicide attempts and suicides during that time period. Sorberg also assessed the socioeconomic status of the men during their childhoods and adult lives, as well as their marital and parental statuses. The results revealed that the men with lower IQs had higher rates of suicide attempts and completions than those with higher IQs. Sorberg also discovered that marital status acted as a protective factor, reducing the risk of suicide, especially for men with children. Sorberg theorized that perhaps men with higher IQs are more likely to get married than those with limited cognitive abilities. This relationship between IQ and marriage was not examined fully in this study, but warrants further investigation.
Sorberg further noticed that psychological problems, family adversity, and socioeconomic disadvantages in childhood did significantly increase the risk of suicide when not combined with IQ. However, socioeconomic disadvantage in adulthood did. Sorberg believes that men with low IQs may not have the education or intellect needed to develop adaptive coping strategies when faced with stress. Future work should explore ways to provide these at-risk men with effective and nonharmful methods of coping. In conclusion, Sorberg added, “This present study confirms previous findings of associations between cognitive ability and subsequent suicide and suicide attempt.”
Sörberg, A., et al. (2013). Cognitive ability in early adulthood is associated with later suicide and suicide attempt: The role of risk factors over the life course. Psychological Medicine 43.1 (2013): 49-60. ProQuest. Web. 11 Mar. 2013.
© Copyright 2013 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.