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Mental illness and accidental death: Case-control psychological autopsy study

  • Susan S. F. Gau (a1) and Andrew T. A. Cheng (a2)

Abstract

Background

Few studies have systematically investigated the psychiatric antecedents of accidental death.

Aims

To examine the patterns of psychiatric morbidities contributing to accidental death in three ethnic groups (Han, Ami and Atayal) in Taiwan.

Method

A case–control psychological autopsy was conducted among 90 accidental deaths (randomly selected from a total of 413) and 180 living controls matched for age, gender, ethnicity and area of residence in Taiwan.

Results

The risk of accidental death was significantly associated with alcohol use disorder and with other common mental disorders. When jointly considered, it was greatest when these two types of disorders co-existed, followed by common mental disorders alone. The risk of accidental death increased with the number of comorbid conditions.

Conclusions

The prevention of accidental death should be incorporated into preventive psychiatry, not just for alcohol use disorder, but also for all other common mental disorders.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Professor Andrew T. A. Cheng, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan. Tel: +886 2 2789 9119; fax: +8862 2782 3047; e-mail: bmandrew@gate.sinica.edu.tw

Footnotes

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Declaration of interest

None. Funding detailed in Acknowledgement.

Footnotes

References

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Mental illness and accidental death: Case-control psychological autopsy study

  • Susan S. F. Gau (a1) and Andrew T. A. Cheng (a2)
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