Association of food insecurity with suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in adults aged ≥50 years from low- and middle-income countries
journal contributionposted on 2023-08-30, 19:50 authored by Lee Smith, Jae Il Shin, Christina Carmichael, Louis Jacob, Karel Kostev, Igor Grabovac, Yvonne A. Barnett, Laurie T. Butler, Rosie Lindsay, Damiano Pizzol, Nicola Veronese, Pinar Soysal, Ai Koyanagi
Background- The aim of the present study was to investigate associations between food insecurity with suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in adults aged ≥50 years from six low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Methods- Cross-sectional, community-based data from the World Health Organisation's Study on Global Aging and Adult Health were analyzed. Self-reported information on past 12-month suicidal ideation and suicide attempts was collected. Past 12-month food insecurity was assessed with two questions on frequency of eating less and hunger due to lack of food. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was conducted to assess the association between food insecurity and suicidal ideation or suicide attempts. Results- The final analytical sample included 34,129 individuals aged ≥50 years [mean (SD) age 62.4 (16.0) years; 52.1% females]. Compared to no food insecurity, severe food insecurity was associated with a significant 2.78 (95%CI = 1.73–4.45) times higher odds for suicidal ideation, while moderate and severe food insecurity were associated with 2.59 (95%CI = 1.35–4.97) and 5.15 (95%CI = 2.52–10.53) times higher odds for suicide attempts, respectively. Limitations- The cross-sectional design, the use of self-reported wish to die as a measure of suicide ideation, and that suicidal ideation and suicide attempts were only assessed among those who had depressive symptoms, could be considered limitations of our study. Conclusions- Food insecurity was positively associated with suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Targeting food insecurity among older adults in LMICs may lead to reduction in suicidal ideation and suicide attempts, although future longitudinal studies are warranted to confirm this.
Publication titleJournal of Affective Disorders
- Accepted version