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Suicide Attempt Characteristics, Diagnoses, and Future Attempts: Comparing Multiple Attempters to Single Attempters and Ideators

NCJ Number
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Volume: 47 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2008 Pages: 32-40
Regina Miranda Ph.D.; Michelle Scott Ph.D.; Roger Hicks MBA; Holly C. Wilcox Ph.D.; Jimmie Lou Harris Munfakh B.A.; David Shaffer M.D.
Date Published
January 2008
9 pages
This study compared psychiatric diagnoses and future suicide attempt outcomes of multiple attempters (MAs), single attempters (SAs) and ideators.
Findings concluded that MAs more strongly predicted later suicidality and diagnosis than SAs and ideation. Forms that assess past suicide attempts should routinely inquire about frequency of attempts. MAs more often met criteria for any one of the DSM diagnoses assessed at baseline (mood, anxiety, or substance use disorder). MAs more often wished to die during their attempt, less often planned their attempt for intervention, and more often regretted recovery. Baseline MAs had significantly higher odds of making a later attempt compared to ideators, and single attempters (SAs). SAs that made another attempt more often met criteria for baseline anxiety disorder and more often wished to die during their baseline attempt. The study provides some validation for screening as a method of identifying suicide attempters who demonstrate similar characteristics to teens identified in clinical studies. The sample consisted of 228 teenagers, ages 12 to 18, who endorsed a lifetime suicide attempt or recent suicidal ideation during a two-stage screening procedure. Information was provided on attempt number and characteristics and mood, anxiety, and substance use disorder modules of the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children; 191 were reinterviewed 4 to 6 years later to ascertain interval attempts and psychiatric disorder. Between screening and followup, 33 teens made an attempt, 12 of whom were previously classified as lifetime MAs and 6 as SAs. The majority of teens were female, and ethnic breakdowns were as follows: 51 percent White, 15 percent African-American, 20 percent Hispanic, 9 percent Asian, and 5 percent other ethnicities. Teens were recruited from high school screening between 1991 and 1994 from seven high schools in the New York metropolitan area. Tables, references