Predictive value of psychological characteristics and suicide history on medical lethality of suicide attempts: A follow-up study of hospitalized patients

Ruth Trakhtenbrot, Yari Gvion, Yossi Levi-Belz, Netta Horesh, Tsvi Fischel, Mark Weiser, Ilan Treves, Alan Apter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background This study examined the role of mental pain, communication difficulties, and suicide history in predicting the medical severity of follow-up suicide attempts. Methods The cohort included 153 consecutive psychiatric in-patients who participated in earlier studies 1-9 years previously. Fifty-three had a history of a medically serious suicide attempt (MSSA), 64 had a history of a medically non-serious suicide attempt (MNSSA), and 36 had no history of suicide. A MSSA was defined as a suicide attempt that warranted hospitalization for at least 24 h and extensive medical treatment. Participants completed a battery of instruments measuring mental pain and communication difficulties. Findings were analyzed in relation to follow-up suicide attempts and their severity. Results Fifty-three patients (35.5%) had attempted suicide: 15 (9.9%) a MSSA (including 5 fatalities) and 38 (25%) a MNSSA. The medical severity of the index attempt and level of hopelessness at the index attempt were significantly correlated with medical severity of the follow-up attempt. In younger patients, high levels of depression and self-disclosure predicted the medical severity of the follow-up attempt. In patients with relatively low hopelessness, the medical severity of the attempt increased with the level of self-disclosure. Limitations (i) Possibly incomplete patient information, as some of the patients who participated in the index studies could not be located. (ii) Relatively small group of patients with an index MSSA. Conclusions Patients who have made a suicide attempt should be assessed for medical severity of the attempt, hopelessness, and communication difficulties, which are important factors in follow-up attempts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-80
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume199
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Communication
  • Medically serious suicide attempt
  • Mental pain
  • Suicide

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