EKU Faculty and Staff Scholarship

Suicide Exposure in the Population: Perceptions of Impact and Closeness

Julie Cerel, University of Kentucky
Myfanwy Maple, University of New England
Judy Venne, University of Kentucky
Melissa Brown, Kentucky One Health
Melinda Moore, Eastern Kentucky University
Chris Flaherty, University of Kentucky


Recent studies of people exposed to suicide point to a continuum of effects moderated by a perception of closeness to the deceased. We investigated the importance of perception of impact of the death on mental health outcomes of those exposed to suicide. Female sex, younger age, and multiple exposures to suicide were associated with greater risk for poorer outcomes. Suicide exposed with high impact was more likely to have depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, prolonged grief, and suicide ideation. Findings can help focus postvention resources for suicide-exposed individuals.