Substance Use and Suicidal Behaviors Among Young Adults
32 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2002 Last revised: 30 Jul 2021
Date Written: February 2002
The purpose of this paper is to examine the causal impact of alcohol and illicit drug use on suicidal behaviors among college students. Every year, more American youth die from suicide than from all leading natural causes of death combined. Substance use has been identified as a leading risk factor in suicidal behaviors. We use instrumental variables to estimate a structural model of suicidal thoughts and attempts. A reduced form equation is also estimated which directly relates the determinants of alcohol and drug use to suicidal behaviors. Data come from the Core Institute's Alcohol and Drug Surveys of College Students. The results are consistent with a causal mechanism from alcohol and illicit drug consumption to suicide thoughts and attempts.
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