The relationship between disability and suicide: Prospective evidence from the Ten to Men cohort

Allison Milner, Anne Marie Bollier, Eric Emerson, Anne Kavanagh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background People with disabilities often face a range of social and economic adversities. Evidence suggests that these disadvantages result in poorer mental health. Some research also indicates that people with disabilities are more likely experience thoughts about suicide than people without disability, although most of this research is based on small cross-sectional samples. Methods We explored the relationship between self-reported disability (measured at baseline) and likelihood of reporting thoughts of suicide (measured at follow up) using a large longitudinal cohort of Australian males. A logistic regression model was conducted with thoughts of suicide within the past 12 months (yes or no) as the outcome and disability as the exposure. The models adjusted for relevant confounders, including mental health using the SF-12 MCS, and excluded males who reported thoughts of suicide at baseline. Results After adjustment, there was a 1.48 (95% CI: 0.98-2.23, P = 0.063) increase in the odds of thoughts of suicide among men who also reported a disability. The size of association was similar to that of being unemployed. Conclusions Males reporting disability may also suffer from thoughts of suicide. We speculate that discrimination may be one explanation for the observed association. More research on this topic is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)707-713
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Public Health (United Kingdom)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Disability
  • Employment
  • Job stressor
  • Male
  • Suicide ideation


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