The role of alcohol problems in the association between intimate partner abuse and suicidality among college students.

Objective: Intimate partner abuse is a prevalent public health issue among college students and has been associated with suicidality and alcohol abuse. Evidence suggests that alcohol-related problems mediate the relationship between intimate partner abuse and suicidality, but it is limited to suicidal ideation among women. We aimed to expand the applicability of an existing mediation model by incorporating multiple indicators for intimate partner abuse and suicidality using a nationally representative sample of college students. Method: We used data from the National College Health Association Survey (N = 88,568). Key variables included involvement in intimate partner abuse (psychological, physical, and sexual), involvement in alcohol-related problems, and suicide-related behaviors (self-harm, ideation, and attempt). Results: We used structural equation modeling to test the mediation model. Results showed that alcohol-related problems partially mediated the association between abusive relationship involvement and suicidality. Furthermore, this association was equally present across men and women. Conclusions: Results demonstrate that psychological, physical, and sexual abuse involvement lead to self-harm, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts via problematic alcohol use. The partial mediation by alcohol-related problems suggests the potential benefit of treatment focusing on both problematic alcohol use and intimate partner abuse in preventing suicidality. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)