Suicide is a unique phenomenon in humans. In 2017, over 47,000 Americans died by suicide, prompting a public health crisis. Suicide by burning, while one of the rarest forms of suicide, could be mitigated in part by early recognition and treatment of the underlying psycho social factors. To date, investigators have attempted to tease out the risk factors associated with this phenomenon through the examination of burn center chart reviews and repository data, but these studies were limited by small sample sizes. In order to fill this gap in the literature, the authors analyzed fourteen years of data (2003-2016) from the National Violent Death Reporting System. Suicides by burning (n =722) were compared to a reference group containing all other suicide types (n =166,949). Sociodemographic variables and psychosocial factors (e.g., mental health, substance use, and alcohol use) were included in the model. Due to the imbalance between the target and reference groups, rare event data analysis was utilized to reduce potential small sample estimation bias. Results indicated that females (OR=1.6, 95% CI: .50-2.83, p & .001), Caucasians (OR=1.7, 95% CI: 1.1-2.7, p & .001), victims with schizophrenia (OR = 5.4, 95% CI: 3.7-7.8, p & .001), and victims with eating disorders (OR= 5.6, 95% CI: 1.9-8.6, p & .001) are significantly more likely to commit suicide by burning. These results contribute new knowledge to what is currently known about suicidal burn-related behaviors and supports interventions that focus on mitigating this insidious public health problem.
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