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Predictors of suicide relative to other deaths in patients with suicide attempts and suicide ideation: a 30-year prospective study

Predictors of suicide relative to other deaths in patients with suicide attempts and suicide ideation: a 30-year prospective study

Journal of Affective Disorders 132(3): 375-382

Although there is a large literature that prospectively examines predictors of suicide, low base rates of suicide and imprecision of measurement hinder definitive conclusions from being drawn. This study examined predictors of suicide relative to other types of death in a sample of 297 patients who had been hospitalized for suicide ideation or a suicide attempt between 1970 and 1975 and who were confirmed dead in 2005. Many predictors were measured using well-validated assessment instruments. Fifty-five patients had died by suicide. Univariate predictors of an increased risk for eventual suicide included younger age, completion of at least a high school degree, a diagnosis of a psychotic disorder, taking active precautions against discovery during the attempt, and a non-zero score on the suicide item of the Beck Depression Inventory, whereas African American ethnicity was associated with a decreased risk of eventual suicide. Variables that remained significant in a multivariate analysis included younger age, African American ethnicity, and taking active precautions against discovery during the attempt. Risk factors did not vary as a function of whether eventual suicide occurred less than or more than five years after the initial evaluation or by attempter v. ideator status. Despite the attempt to maximize statistical power by following a high-risk sample for 30 years, the number of deaths by suicide was still relatively low. Taking active precautions against discovery of a suicide attempt has the potential to be an important predictor of eventual suicide and should be assessed by clinicians. Future prospective studies should assess predictors at multiple time points to gain a richer clinical picture of the circumstances surrounding deaths by suicide.

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Accession: 055113603

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 21481944

DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2011.03.006

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