A protocol for determining gambling-related suicides in psychological autopsy studies


Elevated rates of suicidal ideation have been frequently reported among pathological gamblers experiencing severe adverse consequences such as financial debts, depression, marital disturbances, substance abuse and unemployment arising from their excessive gambling behaviours. However, determining the causal relationship between gambling and a suicide, and the rate of completed suicides among populations of problem gamblers, is fraught with methodological difficulties, in particular the reliance on subjective judgements in establishing the presence of a problem gambling condition and its primary contribution to the final decision to suicide. The purpose of this paper is to provide a set of standard guidelines that can be used by clinicians and researchers in psychological autopsy studies to determine the degree to which gambling problems contributed to individual acts of suicide.

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