Although much has been written about the association of traumatic experiences with the development of psychiatric morbidity, less is known specifically about the relationship between trauma and attempted suicide or suicide. Attempted suicide and suicide are outcomes with a complex etiology, and the risk factors for each vary across the life course, by gender, and by culture. At the same time, attempted suicide and suicide form a public health problem of enormous significance, reaching beyond the tragic death or injury of the individual to have a lasting impact on family, friends, and coworkers (Knox, Conwell, & Caine, 2004). For example, in several of our studies, up to 65% of individuals report knowing someone who has died by suicide. The actual total public health burden due to suicidal behaviors has never been quantified, but is likely enormous.


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