Suicidality in family caregivers of people with long-term illnesses and disabilities: A scoping review

Siobhan T. O'Dwyer, Astrid Janssens, Anna Sansom, Lucy Biddle, Becky Mars, Thomas Slater, Paul Moran, Paul Stallard, Julia Melluish, Lisa Reakes, Anna Walker, Charmaine Andrewartha, Richard P. Hastings

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Citations (SciVal)


An emerging body of international research suggests family caregivers may be a high-risk group for suicide, but the evidence has not been synthesised. Forty-eight peer-reviewed journal articles were included in this review, spanning low-, middle-, and high-income countries and a variety of illnesses and disabilities. The proportion of caregivers experiencing suicidal ideation ranged from 2.7% to 71%, with evidence of suicide attempts, deaths by suicide, and deaths by homicide-suicide also reported. Risk and protective factors varied across studies and there was little consideration of differences by caregiving relationship, type of illness/disability, or country.There is sufficient evidence to warrant concern for caregivers around the world and prompt action in policy and practice, but more rigorous research is required to draw clear, nuanced conclusions about risk and inform evidence-based prevention and intervention
Original languageEnglish
Article number152261
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Early online date8 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2021


  • Caregivers
  • Carers
  • Chronic illness
  • Disability
  • Homicide
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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