Clin Psychol Sci. 2021 May;9(3):482-488. doi: 10.1177/2167702621993857.


There is concern that the COVID-19 pandemic may cause increased risk of suicide. In the current study, we tested whether suicidal thinking has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic and whether such thinking was predicted by increased feelings of social isolation. In a sample of 55 individuals recently hospitalized for suicidal thinking or behaviors and participating in a 6-month intensive longitudinal smartphone monitoring study, we examined suicidal thinking and isolation before and after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared a national emergency in the United States. We found that suicidal thinking increased significantly among adults (odds ratio [OR] = 4.01, 95% confidence interval [CI] = [3.28, 4.90], p < .001) but not adolescents (OR = 0.84, 95% CI = [0.69, 1.01], p = .07) during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Increased feelings of isolation predicted suicidal thinking during the pandemic phase. Given the importance of social distancing policies, these findings support the need for digital outreach and treatment.

PMID:38602997 | PMC:PMC7967020 | DOI:10.1177/2167702621993857