(HealthDay News) — Social integration is associated with a reduced suicide risk for men, according to a study published in the July 15 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Alexander C. Tsai, MD, PhD, from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study involving men aged 40–75 years to examine the correlation between social integration and suicide mortality. A seven-item index that included marital status, social network size, religious participation, and participation in other social groups, was used to assess social integration.

The researchers identified 147 suicides over 708,945 person-years of follow-up. There was a decrease in suicide incidence with increasing social integration. Participants in the highest and second highest categories of social integration had the lowest relative hazard of suicide (adjusted hazard ratios, 0.41 and 0.52, respectively). The strongest protective associations were seen for marital status, social network size, and religious service attendance. Inverse associations were seen for social integration with all-cause and cardiovascular-related mortality, but adjustment for competing causes of death did not change these findings.

“Men who were socially well-integrated had a more than two-fold reduced risk for suicide over 24 years of follow-up,” the authors write.

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