This study used a panel of time-series measures from U.S. States in order to estimate the effects of changes in current and lagged alcohol sales on suicide mortality risk.
The findings suggest that chronic effects, potentially related to alcohol abuse and dependence, are the main source of alcohol's impact on suicide rates for men in the United States; however, alcohol abuse and dependence were responsible for only approximately half of the effect for women. An additional liter of alcohol from total alcohol sales was estimated to increase suicide rates by 2.3 percent in models that used a distributed lag specification; however, no effect was found in models that included only current alcohol consumption. A similar result was found for men, but for women, both current and distributed lag measures were significantly related to suicide rates, with an effect of approximately 3.2 percent per liter from current and 5.8 percent per liter from the lagged measure. Beverage-specific models indicated that liquor was the most closely linked with suicide risk for women, and beer and wine were most closely linked with suicide risk for men. Unemployment rates were consistently positively related to suicide rates. The study methodology used generalized least squares estimation for 53 years of data from 48 U.S. States or State groups in estimating relationships between total and beverage-specific alcohol consumption measures and age-standardized suicide mortality rates in first-differenced semi-logged models. 1 figure, 3 tables, and 41 references