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1.  Cross-National Analysis of the Associations among Mental Disorders and Suicidal Behavior: Findings from the WHO World Mental Health Surveys 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(8):e1000123.
Using data from over 100,000 individuals in 21 countries participating in the WHO World Mental Health Surveys, Matthew Nock and colleagues investigate which mental health disorders increase the odds of experiencing suicidal thoughts and actual suicide attempts, and how these relationships differ across developed and developing countries.
Suicide is a leading cause of death worldwide. Mental disorders are among the strongest predictors of suicide; however, little is known about which disorders are uniquely predictive of suicidal behavior, the extent to which disorders predict suicide attempts beyond their association with suicidal thoughts, and whether these associations are similar across developed and developing countries. This study was designed to test each of these questions with a focus on nonfatal suicide attempts.
Methods and Findings
Data on the lifetime presence and age-of-onset of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV) mental disorders and nonfatal suicidal behaviors were collected via structured face-to-face interviews with 108,664 respondents from 21 countries participating in the WHO World Mental Health Surveys. The results show that each lifetime disorder examined significantly predicts the subsequent first onset of suicide attempt (odds ratios [ORs] = 2.9–8.9). After controlling for comorbidity, these associations decreased substantially (ORs = 1.5–5.6) but remained significant in most cases. Overall, mental disorders were equally predictive in developed and developing countries, with a key difference being that the strongest predictors of suicide attempts in developed countries were mood disorders, whereas in developing countries impulse-control, substance use, and post-traumatic stress disorders were most predictive. Disaggregation of the associations between mental disorders and nonfatal suicide attempts showed that these associations are largely due to disorders predicting the onset of suicidal thoughts rather than predicting progression from thoughts to attempts. In the few instances where mental disorders predicted the transition from suicidal thoughts to attempts, the significant disorders are characterized by anxiety and poor impulse-control. The limitations of this study include the use of retrospective self-reports of lifetime occurrence and age-of-onset of mental disorders and suicidal behaviors, as well as the narrow focus on mental disorders as predictors of nonfatal suicidal behaviors, each of which must be addressed in future studies.
This study found that a wide range of mental disorders increased the odds of experiencing suicide ideation. However, after controlling for psychiatric comorbidity, only disorders characterized by anxiety and poor impulse-control predict which people with suicide ideation act on such thoughts. These findings provide a more fine-grained understanding of the associations between mental disorders and subsequent suicidal behavior than previously available and indicate that mental disorders predict suicidal behaviors similarly in both developed and developing countries. Future research is needed to delineate the mechanisms through which people come to think about suicide and subsequently progress from ideation to attempts.
Please see later in the article for Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Suicide is a leading cause of death worldwide. Every 40 seconds, someone somewhere commits suicide. Over a year, this adds up to about 1 million self-inflicted deaths. In the USA, for example, where suicide is the 11th leading cause of death, more than 30,000 people commit suicide every year. The figures for nonfatal suicidal behavior (suicidal thoughts or ideation, suicide planning, and suicide attempts) are even more shocking. Globally, suicide attempts, for example, are estimated to be 20 times as frequent as completed suicides. Risk factors for nonfatal suicidal behaviors and for suicide include depression and other mental disorders, alcohol or drug abuse, stressful life events, a family history of suicide, and having a friend or relative commit suicide. Importantly, nonfatal suicidal behaviors are powerful predictors of subsequent suicide deaths so individuals who talk about killing themselves must always be taken seriously and given as much help as possible by friends, relatives, and mental-health professionals.
Why Was This Study Done?
Experts believe that it might be possible to find ways to decrease suicide rates by answering three questions. First, which individual mental disorders are predictive of nonfatal suicidal behaviors? Although previous studies have reported that virtually all mental disorders are associated with an increased risk of suicidal behaviors, people often have two or more mental disorders (“comorbidity”), so many of these associations may reflect the effects of only a few disorders. Second, do some mental disorders predict suicidal ideation whereas others predict who will act on these thoughts? Finally, are the associations between mental disorders and suicidal behavior similar in developed countries (where most studies have been done) and in developing countries? By answering these questions, it should be possible to improve the screening, clinical risk assessment, and treatment of suicide around the world. Thus, in this study, the researchers undertake a cross-national analysis of the associations among mental disorders (as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition [DSM-IV]) and nonfatal suicidal behaviors.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers collected and analyzed data on the lifetime presence and age-of-onset of mental disorders and of nonfatal suicidal behaviors in structured interviews with nearly 110,000 participants from 21 countries (part of the World Health Organization's World Mental Health Survey Initiative). The lifetime presence of each of the 16 disorders considered (mood disorders such as depression; anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD]; impulse-control disorders such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder; and substance misuse) predicted first suicide attempts in both developed and developing countries. However, the increased risk of a suicide attempt associated with each disorder varied. So, for example, in developed countries, after controlling for comorbid mental disorders, major depression increased the risk of a suicide attempt 3-fold but drug abuse/dependency increased the risk only 2-fold. Similarly, although the strongest predictors of suicide attempts in developed countries were mood disorders, in developing countries the strongest predictors were impulse-control disorders, substance misuse disorders, and PTSD. Other analyses indicate that mental disorders were generally more predictive of the onset of suicidal thoughts than of suicide plans and attempts, but that anxiety and poor impulse-control disorders were the strongest predictors of suicide attempts in both developed and developing countries.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Although this study has several limitations—for example, it relies on retrospective self-reports by study participants—its findings nevertheless provide a more detailed understanding of the associations between mental disorders and subsequent suicidal behaviors than previously available. In particular, its findings reveal that a wide range of individual mental disorders increase the chances of an individual thinking about suicide in both developed and developing countries and provide new information about the mental disorders that predict which people with suicidal ideas will act on such thoughts. However, the findings also show that only half of people who have seriously considered killing themselves have a mental disorder. Thus although future suicide prevention efforts should include a focus on screening and treating mental disorders, ways must also be found to identify the many people without mental disorders who are at risk of suicidal behaviors.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Institute of Mental Health provides information about suicide in the US: statistics and prevention
The UK National Health Service provides information about suicide, including statistics about suicide in the UK and links to other resources
The World Health Organization provides global statistics about suicide and information on suicide prevention
MedlinePlus provides links to further information and advice about suicide and about mental health (in English and Spanish)
Further details about the World Mental Health Survey Initiative and about DSM-IV are available
PMCID: PMC2717212  PMID: 19668361
2.  Prevalence, correlates and treatment of lifetime suicidal behavior among adolescents: Results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication – Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A) 
JAMA psychiatry  2013;70(3):10.1001/2013.jamapsychiatry.55.
Although suicide is the third leading cause of death among US adolescents, little is known about the prevalence, correlates, or treatment of its immediate precursors, adolescent suicidal behaviors (i.e., suicide ideation, plans, and attempts).
To estimate lifetime prevalence of suicidal behaviors among US adolescents and associations of retrospectively-reported temporally primary DSM-IV disorders with the subsequent onset of suicidal behaviors.
Dual-frame national sample of adolescents from the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A).
Face-to-face household interviews with adolescents and questionnaires with parents.
6,483 adolescents (ages 13–18 years) and parents.
Main outcome measures
Lifetime suicide ideation, plans, and attempts.
The estimated lifetime prevalence of suicide ideation, plans, and attempts among NCS-A respondents is 12.1%, 4.0% and 4.1%. The vast majority of adolescents with these behaviors meet lifetime criteria for at least one DSM-IV mental disorder assessed in the survey. Most temporally primary (based on retrospective age-of-onset reports) fear/anger, distress, disruptive behavior, and substance disorders significantly predict elevated odds of subsequent suicidal behaviors in bivariate models. The most consistently significant associations of these disorders are with suicide ideation, although a number of disorders also predict plans and both planned and unplanned attempts among ideators. Most suicidal adolescents (>80%) receive some form of mental health treatment. In most cases (>55%) treatment starts prior to onset of suicidal behaviors but fails to prevent these behaviors from occurring.
Suicidal behaviors are commonly occurring among US adolescents, with rates that approach those of adults. The vast majority of youth with suicidal behaviors have pre-existing mental disorders. The disorders most powerfully predicting ideation, though, are different from those most powerfully predicting conditional transitions from ideation to plans and attempts. These differences suggest that distinct prediction and prevention strategies are needed for ideation, plans among ideators, planned attempts, and unplanned attempts.
PMCID: PMC3886236  PMID: 23303463
3.  Gender Differences in Emotional Risk for Self- and Other-Directed Violence among Externalizing Adults 
Women and men generally differ in how frequently they engage in other-and self-directed physical violence and may show distinct emotional risk factors for engagement in these high-impact behaviors. To inform this area, we investigated gender differences in the relationship of emotional tendencies (i.e., anger, hostility, and anhedonic depression) that may represent risk for other-directed (i.e., physical fighting, attacking others unprovoked) and self-directed violence (i.e., self-injury, suicide attempts).
The ethnically-diverse sample consisted of 372 adults (252 men and 120 women ages 18–55) with a history of criminal convictions. Facets of emotional risk assessed with the Aggression Questionnaire (Buss & Warren, 2000) and Mood and Anxiety Symptom Questionnaire (Watson et al., 1995) were entered simultaneously as explanatory variables in regression analyses to investigate their unique contributions to other- and self-directed physical violence in men and women.
Analyses revealed anhedonic depressive tendencies negatively predicted other-directed violence and positively predicted self-directed violence in both men and women, consistent with a model of depression in which aggression is turned inwards (Henriksson et al., 1993). Gender differences, however, emerged for the differential contributions of anger and hostility to other-and self-directed violence. Specifically, trait anger (i.e., difficulty controlling one’s temper) was associated with other-directed violence selectively in men, whereas trait hostility (i.e., suspiciousness and alienation) was associated with self- and other-directed violence among women.
The divergent findings for trait anger and hostility underscore the need to examine gender-specific risk factors for physical violence to avoid excluding potentially useful clinical features of these mental health outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3368376  PMID: 21261437
Anger; hostility; anhedonic depression; violence; gender; suicide; aggression
4.  Associations between impulsivity, aggression, and suicide in Chinese college students 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:551.
Although there are accumulating data regarding the epidemiology of suicide in China, there are meager data on suicidal ideation and attempts among college students. Interestingly, elevated impulsivity is thought to facilitate the transition from suicidal thoughts to suicidal behavior. Therefore, the objective of this research was to identify the associations between suicide and the personality factors of impulsivity and aggression.
This study’s sampling method employed stratified random cluster sampling. A multi-stage stratified sampling procedure was used to select participants (n = 5,245). We conducted structured interviews regarding a range of socio-demographic characteristics and suicidal morbidity. The Patient Health Questionnaire depression module (PHQ-9) was used to acquire the information about thoughts of being better off dead or hurting themselves in some ways during the past two weeks. The impulsivity symptoms in this study were assessed with the BIS-11-CH (i.e., the Chinese version of the BIS-11), and the Aggressive symptoms were assessed with the BAQ. The statistical package for social science (SPSS) v.13.0 program (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA) was used for statistical analysis. Socio-demographic variables such as ethnic and gender were compared between groups, through the use of χ2 tests. The nonparametric test (k Independent Sample test, Kruskal-Wallis H) was performed to determine differences between the personality factors of impulsivity and aggression and suicide.
In total, 9.1% (n = 479) of the 5,245 students reported they have ever thought about committing suicide; and 1% (n = 51) reported a history of attempted suicide (attempters). The analyses detected significant differences in scores on cognitive impulsivity (p < 0.01), when comparing individuals who only had suicidal ideation and individuals who had attempted suicide. Moreover, significant differences were found between ideators only and attempters on scores of self-oriented attack (p < .001).
Suicidal ideation is prevalent among Chinese university students. Students with high aggression scores were more susceptible to committing suicide. Scores on self-oriented attack and cognitive impulsivity may be important factors for differentially predicting suicide ideation and suicide attempts.
PMCID: PMC4082288  PMID: 24894449
Suicidal ideation; Suicidal attempters; Impulsivity; Aggression; University students; Correlations
5.  Suicide and related health risk behaviours among school learners in South Africa: results from the 2002 and 2008 national youth risk behaviour surveys 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:926.
Attempted and completed suicide constitute a major public health problem among young people world-wide, including South Africa (SA). Suicide attempt and completed suicide increase during the adolescent period. One in 5 adolescents considers attempting suicide, but statistics are frequently unreliable.
Data for this study were derived from the 2002 and 2008 South African Youth Risk Behaviour Surveys (YRBS). The study population comprised grades 8, 9, 10 and 11 students in governmental schools in the nine provinces of SA (N = 10,699 in 2002 and 10,270 in 2008). Key outcome measures were suicide ideation and suicide attempts.
Of the total sample, 18% of the students in 2002 and 19% in 2008 reported to have seriously considered and/or made a plan to commit suicide during the past six months (Suicide ideation), whereas 18.5% of students in 2002 and 21.8% in 2008 reported that they had attempted suicide at least 1 time during the past six months. On both suicide measures girls have higher prevalence scores than boys, and older school learners score higher than younger learners. In addition, 32% of the learners reported feelings of sadness or hopelessness. These feelings contributed significantly to the explanation of suicide ideation and suicide attempt next to being the victim or actor in violent acts and illegal substance use.
The prevalence of suicide ideation and suicide attempts among South African adolescents is high and seems to be influenced by a wide spectrum of factors at the demographic, psychological and behavioural level. Hence, more research is needed to determine the behavioural and psychological determinants of suicide among youngsters in order to develop comprehensive intervention strategies for suicide prevention and care.
PMCID: PMC3851142  PMID: 24093214
6.  Allergy: A Risk Factor for Suicide? 
Opinion statement
The rates of depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbance (suicide risk factors) are greater in patients with allergic rhinitis than in the general population. The rate of allergy is also greater in patients with depression. Preliminary data suggest that patients with a history of allergy may have an increased rate of suicide. Clinicians should actively inquire to diagnose allergy in patients with depression and depression in patients with allergy.
Spring peaks of suicide are highly replicated, but their origin is poorly understood. Preliminary epidemiologic data suggest that seasonal spring peaks in aeroallergens are associated with seasonal spring peaks in suicide. Our research in Brown Norway rats demonstrates that sensitization and exposure to aeroallergens induces anxiety-like and aggressive behaviors as well as allergy-related helper T-cell type 2 (Th2) cytokine gene expression in the prefrontal cortex. Thus, it is possible that sensitization and exposure to aeroallergens, which peak in spring, may be conducive to seasonal exacerbation of suicide risk factors such as anxiety, depression, hostility/ aggression, and sleep disturbance. Connecting allergy with suicide and suicide risk factors adds to previous neurologic literature connecting allergy with migraines and seizure disorders.
Our recent report of Th2 (allergy-mediating) cytokine expression in the orbito-frontal cortex of suicide victims should lead to future studies to test the hypothesis that mediators of allergic inflammation in the nasal cavities may result in Th2 cytokine expression in the brain, influencing affect and behavioral modulation.
Certain medications used to treat allergy can exacerbate suicide risk factors, potentially worsening suicide risk and even triggering suicide. Systemic (but not topical) corticosteroids have been associated with manic and depressive episodes and mixed mood states. Recently, the US Food and Drug Administration started investigating the possibility that montelukast may trigger suicide. Although this association requires further exploration and confirmation, clinicians should err on the side of caution, inquiring about past suicide attempts; hopelessness; reasons for living; and suicidal ideation, intent, or plan; and referring the patient to a mental health professional for evaluation if appropriate.
PMCID: PMC2592251  PMID: 18782509
7.  Suicidal tendencies and attitude towards freedom to choose suicide among Lithuanian schoolchildren: results from three cross-sectional studies in 1994, 1998, and 2002 
BMC Public Health  2005;5:83.
Suicidal behaviour is increasingly becoming a phenomenon associated with young people and an important public health issue in Lithuania. However, there are very few studies evaluating impact of young peoples' attitudes towards suicide to their suicidal behaviour. A better understanding of the relations among the variables associated with suicidal ideation and threats in the normal population of adolescents may eventually result in a better understanding of the more serious forms of adolescent suicidal behaviour. The aim of the present study was to evaluate prevalence of suicidal tendencies among Lithuanian schoolchildren and to estimate its association with an attitude towards suicide in 1994 – 2002.
Three country representative samples of schoolchildren, aged 11, 13 and 15, were surveyed in 1994 (n = 5428), 1998 (n = 4513), and 2002 (n = 5645) anonymously in conformity with the methodology of the World Health Organization Cross – National study on Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC).
About one third of respondents reported about suicidal ideation, plans or attempts to commit suicide. In the study period of eight years, the percentage of adolescents who reported sometime suicidal ideation decreased but the percentage of adolescents who declared serious suicidal behaviour remained on the same high level (8.1%, 9.8% and 8.4% correspondingly in 1994, 1998 and 2002). Moreover, the number of suicidal attempts changed from 1.0% in 1994 to 1.8% in the year 1998 and to 1,7% in the year 2002. The schoolchildren's attitude towards suicide became more agreeable: 36.6%, 41.9% and 62.5% of respondents, correspondingly in 1994, 1998 and 2002, answered that they agree with a person's freedom to make a choice between life and suicide. A multiple logistic regression analysis with low level of suicidality and high level of suicidality versus non suicidal behaviour as dependent variables for gender, age, year of the survey and attitude towards freedom to choose suicide as independent variables approved a significant association between studied covariates over the entire study period.
Suicidal tendencies are quite frequent among Lithuanian adolescents. An increasing number of schoolchildren are expressing an agreeable attitude towards suicide. The approving attitude towards suicide among adolescents correlates with suicidal ideation and behaviour.
PMCID: PMC1201149  PMID: 16092973
8.  Suicidal Behaviour and Related Risk Factors among School-Aged Youth in the Republic of Benin 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88233.
Research on factors associated with suicidal ideation and suicide attempts has been conducted largely in developed countries. Research on West African countries in particular is lacking.
Data were obtained from the Global School-based Health Survey conducted in Benin in 2009. This was a cross-sectional study of three grades, spanning Junior and Senior High, which sampled a total of 2,690 adolescents. Data on the occurrence of demographic, psycho-social and socio-environmental risk factors were tested using multinomial logistic regression for their association with suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.
The survey indicated that 23.2% had thought about suicide and 28.3% had made a suicide attempt in the previous year. Anxiety, loneliness, being bullied, alcohol misuse, illicit drug use, and lack of parental support were independently related to the ideation outcomes, suicidal ideation without planning and suicidal ideation with planning. Multinomial regression analysis, using one suicide attempt and multiple suicide attempts as outcomes, revealed that female sex, anxiety, loneliness, being physically attacked, and illicit drug use were associated these outcomes.
The prevalence of suicide attempts reported in the survey is relatively high. It is possible that there are cultural factors that could explain this finding. Our research indicates that many factors are related to the occurrence of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among youth in Benin. Illicit drug use and violence in particular are associated with a high rate of suicide attempts in Benin. Measures to address these issues may reduce the risk of self-inflicted violence.
PMCID: PMC3914941  PMID: 24505443
9.  Suicidal Expression in Adolescents in Nicaragua in Relation to Youth Self-Report (YSR) Syndromes and Exposure to Suicide 
Suicide and suicidal expressions among young people represent a major public health problem worldwide. Most studies are from high-income countries, and it remains unclear whether prevalence and risk factors show a similar pattern in other settings. This study aims to assess the prevalence of suicidal expressions and serious suicidal expressions (ideation, plans and attempts) among adolescents in Nicaragua, in relation to previously reported risk factors, such as exposure to suicide in significant others (parents, siblings, partners or friends) and mental health problems.
368 adolescents aged 15-18 years were randomly selected from public secondary schools in León, Nicaragua. Data was collected using Attitude Towards Suicide (ATTS) and Youth Self-Report questionnaires (YSR). Bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted.
Suicide ideation prevalence in the past year was 22.6%, suicide plans 10.3%, and suicide attempts 6.5%. Girls were significantly more likely to report suicidal ideation. Multivariate analyses showed that anxious/depressed, somatic complaints and exposure to suicidal behavior in significant others were significantly associated with own serious suicidal expressions.
The prevalence of serious suicidal expressions among young people in Nicaragua is within the range reported from Western high-income countries. An attempted or completed suicide in someone close, is associated with own suicidal expressions even in the absence of increased mental distress. Furthermore, somatic complaints should alert health care professionals of the possibility of increased suicide risk.
PMCID: PMC3089377  PMID: 21559237
Suicidal expressions; youth self report; nicaragua; school based.
10.  Parental Psychopathology and the Risk of Suicidal Behavior in their Offspring: Results from the World Mental Health Surveys 
Molecular psychiatry  2010;16(12):1221-1233.
Prior research suggests that parental psychopathology predicts suicidal behavior among offspring; however, the more fine-grained associations between specific parental disorders and distinct stages of the pathway to suicide are not well-understood. We set out to test the hypothesis that parental disorders associated with negative mood would predict offspring suicide ideation, whereas disorders characterized by impulsive-aggression (e,g., antisocial personality) and anxiety/agitation (e.g., panic disorder) would predict which offspring act on their suicide ideation and make a suicide attempt. Data were collected during face-to-face interviews conducted on nationally representative samples (N=55,299; age 18+) from 21 countries around the world. We tested the associations between a range of parental disorders and the onset and persistence over time (i.e., time-since-most-recent-episode controlling for age-of-onset and time-since-onset) of subsequent suicidal behavior (suicide ideation, plans, and attempts) among offspring. Analyses tested bivariate and multivariate associations between each parental disorder and distinct forms of suicidal behavior. Results revealed that each parental disorder examined increased the risk of suicide ideation among offspring, parental generalized anxiety and depression emerged as the only predictors of the onset and persistence (respectively) of suicide plans among offspring with ideation, whereas parental anti-social personality and anxiety disorders emerged as the only predictors of the onset and persistence of suicide attempts among ideators. A dose-response relation between parental disorders and respondent risk of suicide ideation and attempt also was found. Parental death by suicide was a particularly strong predictor of persistence of suicide attempts among offspring. These associations remained significant after controlling for comorbidity of parental disorders and for the presence of mental disorders among offspring. These findings should inform future explorations of the mechanisms of inter-generational transmission of suicidal behavior.
PMCID: PMC3142278  PMID: 21079606
suicide; parent and family history; intergenerational transmission
11.  Association between Non-Suicidal Self-Injuries and Suicide Attempts in Chinese Adolescents and College Students: A Cross-Section Study 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(4):e17977.
This study examined the association between non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) and suicide attempts among Chinese adolescents and college students.
A total sample of 2013 Chinese students were randomly selected from five schools in Wuhan, China, including 1101 boys and 912 girls with the age ranging between 10 and 24 years. NSSI, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts and depressive symptoms were measured by self-rated questionnaires. Self-reported suicide attempts were regressed on suicidal ideation and NSSI, controlling for participants' depressive symptoms, and demographic characteristics.
The self-reported prevalence rates of NSSI, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts were 15.5%, 8.8%, and 3.5%, respectively. Logistic regression analyses indicated that NSSI was significantly associated with self-reported suicide attempts. Analyses examining the conditional association of NSSI and suicidal ideation with self-reported suicide attempts revealed that NSSI was significantly associated with greater risk of suicide attempts in those not reporting suicidal ideation than those reporting suicidal ideation in the past year.
These findings highlight the importance of NSSI as a potentially independent risk factor for suicide attempts among Chinese/Han adolescents and college students.
PMCID: PMC3072963  PMID: 21494656
12.  Suicidal behaviors in depressed adolescents: role of perceived relationships in the family 
Suicide is the second leading cause of death in adolescents and young adults in Europe. Reducing suicides is therefore a key public health target. Previous studies have shown associations between suicidal behaviors, depression and family factors.
To assess the role of family factors in depression and suicidality in a large community-based sample of adolescents and to explore specific contributions (e.g. mother vs. father; conflict vs. no conflict; separation vs. no separation) taking into account other risk factors.
A cross-sectional sample of adolescents aged 17 years was recruited in 2008. 36,757 French adolescents (18,593 girls and 18,164 boys) completed a questionnaire including socio-demographic characteristics, drug use, family variables, suicidal ideations and attempts. Current depression was assessed with the Adolescent Depression Rating Scale (ADRS). Adolescents were divided into 4 groups according to suicide risk severity (grade 1 = depressed without suicidal ideation and without suicide attempts, grade 2 = depressed with suicidal ideations and grade 3 = depressed with suicide attempts; grade 0 = control group). Multivariate regressions were applied to assess the Odds Ratio of potential risk factors comparing grade 1, 2 or 3 risk with grade 0.
7.5% of adolescents (10.4% among girls vs. 4.5% among boys) had ADRS scores compatible with depression; 16.2% reported suicidal ideations in the past 12 months and 8.2% reported lifetime suicide attempts. Repeating a year in school was significantly associated to severity grade of suicide risk (1 and 3), as well as all substance use, tobacco use (severity grades 2 and 3) and marijuana use (severity grade 3), for girls and boys. After adjustment, negative relationships with either or both parents, and parents living together but with a negative relationship were significantly associated with suicide risk and/or depression in both genders (all risk grades), and Odds Ratios increased according to risk severity grade.
Family discord and negative relationship with parents were associated with an increased suicide risk in depressed adolescents. So it appears essential to take intrafamilial relationships into account in depressed adolescents to prevent suicidal behaviours.
PMCID: PMC3655930  PMID: 23497551
Suicide; Depression; Adolescent; Community survey
13.  Longitudinal associations between community violence exposure and suicidality 
To examine longitudinal associations between community violence exposure and suicide ideation and attempt, and whether depressive symptoms and aggressive behavior are intervening variables in this association.
Participants were 473 urban and predominantly African American adolescents who completed measures of community violence exposure, depressive symptoms, and suicide ideation and attempt in grades 6, 7, and 8; teachers reported about adolescents’ aggressive behaviors in grades 6, 7, and 8. Path analysis was used to examine direct and indirect associations between community violence exposure in grade 6 and suicide ideation and attempt in grade 8. Depressive symptoms and aggressive behavior were examined as part of an indirect path from grade 6 community violence exposure to later suicide ideation and attempt.
Results revealed an indirect association between community violence exposure and later suicide ideation for males and females; community violence exposure in grade 6 was associated with depressive symptoms in grade 7, which in turn were positively associated with suicide ideation in grade 8. For males, community violence exposure in grade 6 was associated with increases in aggressive behavior in grade 7, which in turn were associated with suicide attempts in grade 8.
Findings suggest indirect pathways between community violence exposure and later suicide ideation and attempt for male and female adolescents. Results highlight the necessity for reducing youth community violence exposure and enhancing strategies for managing the effects of community violence exposure in order to reduce risk for adolescent suicide.
PMCID: PMC2605628  PMID: 18809136
adolescents; African American; community violence; suicide
Depression and anxiety  2013;30(10):997-1004.
Within the context of the recent release of the 2012 National Suicide Prevention Strategy, and as the third leading cause of death for individuals 10- to 24-years-old, suicide prevention is a national priority. A consistently reported and robust risk factor for suicide is a prior suicide attempt; however few studies have investigated the consistency of self-reported lifetime suicide attempts. The goal of this study is to describe the prevalence and characteristics of inconsistent reporting of suicide attempt in a longitudinal cohort of participants annually assessed in 12 waves of data collected from middle school (age 12) to early adulthood (age 22).
Among this cohort (n = 678), we compared those who consistently, inconsistently, and never reported a suicide attempt according to demographic and clinical variables.
Almost 90% (88.5%) of our sample inconsistently reported a lifetime suicide attempt. Consistent and inconsistent reporters of lifetime suicide attempt did not differ on demographic or clinical variables with the exception of higher rates of lifetime suicidal ideation among consistent reporters (P < .001). Significant clinical differences were evident between inconsistent reporters and nonattempters.
Some level of inconsistent reporting of suicide attempt is inevitable when schools or health care systems systematically screen for suicide risk in adolescents. Inconsistent and consistent reporters of suicide attempt differ on few demographic or clinical variables; further prospective research should investigate the reasons for inconsistent reporting as well as the validity and stability of reporting in predicting future suicidal behavior.
PMCID: PMC4083681  PMID: 23804209
suicide; attempted; reliability; risk factors; longitudinal studies; research design
15.  Impulsivity, Substance Abuse, and Family/Friends History of Suicide Attempts in University Students With and Without Suicidal Ideation 
Objective: Impulsivity appears to play an important role in suicidal behavior. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to compare the impulsivity, substance abuse, and family/friends history of suicide attempt between suicide-ideated and non suicide-ideated university students.
Methods: The research population consisted of all the students of the University of Isfahan in the academic year of 2009-2010. Three hundred and forty students (136 boys and 204 girls) were selected randomly through cluster sampling, of whom 53 participants were suicide-ideated and the rest were non suicide-ideated. The instruments used in this study were the 11th version of Barratt Impulsivity Scale, Suicide Ideation Questionnaire, and the demographic questionnaire. Descriptive statistics and multivariate analysis of variance were used to examine hypothesis.
Results: There was a significant difference between suicide ideated and non-suicide ideated subjects in impulsivity (F=3.83, p< 0.001). Accordingly, significant differences were observed between two groups in attentional (F=8.12, p< 0.005), motor (F=7.67, p< 0.006), and non-planning (F=4.60, p< 0.033) impulsiveness. The results showed a higher incidence of substance abuse, and family/friends suicide attempt among suicide-ideated compared with non suicide-ideated students.
Conclusion: A higher level of impulsivity is probably related to various indices of suicidal behavior. Substance abuse is probably associated with suicidal behavior and this association may involve an interaction with impulsivity. This study provides an initial evidence of familial linkages of suicide ideation and suggests that the loss of an important person in life would be an important predictor of suicide ideation in university students.
PMCID: PMC3939968  PMID: 24644453
Impulsivity; Substance abuse; Suicide ideation; Family
16.  Suicidality as a Function of Impulsivity, Callous/Unemotional Traits, and Depressive Symptoms in Youth 
Journal of Abnormal Psychology  2011;120(2):400-413.
Suicidality represents one of the most important areas of risk for adolescents, with both internalizing (e.g., depression, anxiety) and externalizing/antisocial (e.g., substance use, conduct) disorders conferring risk for suicidal ideation and attempts (e.g., Bridge et al., 2006). However, no study has attended to gender differences in relationships between suicidality and different facets of psychopathic tendencies in youth. Further, very little research has focused on disentangling the multiple manifestations of suicide risk in the same study, including behaviors (suicide attempts with intent to die, self- injurious behavior) and general suicide risk marked by suicidal ideation/plans. To better understand these relationships, we recruited 184 adolescents from the community and those in treatment. As predicted, psychopathic traits and depressive symptoms in youth showed differential associations with components of suicidality. Specifically, impulsive traits uniquely contributed to suicide attempts and self- injurious behaviors, above the influence of depression. Indeed, once psychopathic tendencies were entered in the model, depressive symptoms only explained general suicide risk marked by ideation/plans but not behaviors. Further, callous/unemotional traits conferred protection from suicide attempts selectively in girls. These findings have important implications for developing integrative models that incorporate differential relationships between 1) depressed mood and 2) personality risk factors (i.e., impulsivity and callous-unemotional traits) for suicidality in youth.
PMCID: PMC3367560  PMID: 21280931
Suicide risk; psychopathic tendencies; psychopathy; impulsivity; depression; callous/unemotional; gender; adolescence; youth; internalizing; externalizing
17.  Intimate Partner Violence and Incident Depressive Symptoms and Suicide Attempts: A Systematic Review of Longitudinal Studies 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(5):e1001439.
Karen Devries and colleagues conduct a systematic review of longitudinal studies to evaluate the direction of association between symptoms of depression and intimate partner violence.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Depression and suicide are responsible for a substantial burden of disease globally. Evidence suggests that intimate partner violence (IPV) experience is associated with increased risk of depression, but also that people with mental disorders are at increased risk of violence. We aimed to investigate the extent to which IPV experience is associated with incident depression and suicide attempts, and vice versa, in both women and men.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies published before February 1, 2013. More than 22,000 records from 20 databases were searched for studies examining physical and/or sexual intimate partner or dating violence and symptoms of depression, diagnosed major depressive disorder, dysthymia, mild depression, or suicide attempts. Random effects meta-analyses were used to generate pooled odds ratios (ORs). Sixteen studies with 36,163 participants met our inclusion criteria. All studies included female participants; four studies also included male participants. Few controlled for key potential confounders other than demographics. All but one depression study measured only depressive symptoms. For women, there was clear evidence of an association between IPV and incident depressive symptoms, with 12 of 13 studies showing a positive direction of association and 11 reaching statistical significance; pooled OR from six studies = 1.97 (95% CI 1.56–2.48, I2 = 50.4%, pheterogeneity = 0.073). There was also evidence of an association in the reverse direction between depressive symptoms and incident IPV (pooled OR from four studies = 1.93, 95% CI 1.51–2.48, I2 = 0%, p = 0.481). IPV was also associated with incident suicide attempts. For men, evidence suggested that IPV was associated with incident depressive symptoms, but there was no clear evidence of an association between IPV and suicide attempts or depression and incident IPV.
In women, IPV was associated with incident depressive symptoms, and depressive symptoms with incident IPV. IPV was associated with incident suicide attempts. In men, few studies were conducted, but evidence suggested IPV was associated with incident depressive symptoms. There was no clear evidence of association with suicide attempts.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Depression and suicide are responsible for a substantial proportion of the global disease burden. Depression—an overwhelming feeling of sadness and hopelessness that can last for months or years—affects more than 350 million people worldwide. It is the eleventh leading cause of global disability-adjusted life-years (a measure of overall disease burden), and it affects one in six people at some time during their lives. Globally, about a million people commit suicide every year, usually because they have depression or some other mental illness. Notably, in cross-sectional studies (investigations that look at a population at a single time point), experience of intimate partner violence (IPV, also called domestic violence) is strongly and consistently associated with both depressive disorders and suicide. IPV, like depression and suicide, is extremely common—in multi-country studies, 15%–71% of women report being physically assaulted at some time during their lifetime. IPV is defined as physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse; men as well as women can be the victims of IPV.
Why Was This Study Done?
It may seem obvious to assume that IPV is causally related to subsequent depression and suicidal behavior. However, cross-sectional studies provide no information about causality, and it is possible that depression and/or suicide attempts cause subsequent IPV or that there are common risk factors for IPV, depression, and suicide. For example, individuals with depressive symptoms may be more accepting of partners with characteristics that predispose them to use violence, or early life exposure to violence may predispose individuals to both depression and choosing violent partners. Here, as part of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, the researchers investigate the extent to which experience of IPV is associated with subsequent depression and suicide attempts and vice versa in both men and women by undertaking a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies that have examined IPV, depression, and suicide attempts. A systematic review uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic, meta-analysis combines the results of several studies, and longitudinal studies track people over time to investigate associations between specific characteristics and outcomes.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 16 longitudinal studies involving a total of 36,163 participants that met their inclusion criteria. All the studies included women, but only four also included men. All the studies were undertaken in high- and middle-income countries. For women, 11 studies showed a statistically significant association (an association unlikely to have occurred by chance) between IPV and subsequent depressive symptoms. In a meta-analysis of six studies, experience of IPV nearly doubled the risk of women subsequently reporting depressive symptoms. In addition, there was evidence of an association in the reverse direction. In a meta-analysis of four studies, depressive symptoms nearly doubled the risk of women subsequently experiencing IPV. IPV was also associated with subsequent suicide attempts among women. For men, there was some evidence from two studies that IPV was associated with depressive symptoms but no evidence for an association between IPV and subsequent suicide attempt or between depressive symptoms and subsequent IPV.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that women who are exposed to IPV are at increased risk of subsequent depression and that women who are depressed are more likely to be at risk of IPV. They also provide evidence of an association between IPV and subsequent suicide attempt for women. The study provides little evidence for similar relationships among men, but additional studies are needed to confirm this finding. Moreover, the accuracy of these findings is likely to be affected by several limitations of the study. For example, few of the included studies controlled for other factors that might have affected both exposure to IPV and depressive symptoms, and none of the studies considered the effect of emotional violence on depressive symptoms and suicide attempts. Nevertheless, these findings have two important implications. First, they suggest that preventing violence against women has the potential to reduce the global burden of disease related to depression and suicide. Second, they suggest that clinicians should pay attention to past experiences of violence and the risk of future violence when treating women who present with symptoms of depression.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Alexander Tsai
The US National Institute of Mental Health provides information on all aspects of depression and of suicide and suicide prevention (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides detailed information about depression, including personal stories about depression, and information on suicide and its prevention; it has a webpage about domestic violence, which includes descriptions of personal experiences
The World Health Organization provides information on depression, on the global burden of suicide and on suicide prevention, and on intimate partner violence (some information in several languages)
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about depression, suicide, and domestic violence (in English and Spanish)
The charity Healthtalkonline has personal stories about depression and about dealing with suicide
PMCID: PMC3646718  PMID: 23671407
18.  African-American adolescents’ stress responses after the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks 
The Journal of Adolescent Health  2005;36(3):201-207.
To examine the impact of indirect exposure to the 9/11/01 attacks upon physical and emotional stress-related responses in a community sample of African-American (AA) adolescents.
Three months after the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks, 406 AA adolescents (mean age [SD] of 16.1 ± 1.3 years) from an inner-city high school in Augusta, GA were evaluated with a 12-item 5-point Likert scale measuring loss of psychosocial resources (PRS) such as control, hope, optimism, and perceived support, a 17-item 5-point Likert scale measuring post-traumatic stress symptomatology (PCL), and measures of state and trait anger, anger expression, and hostility. Given the observational nature of the study, statistical differences and correlations were evaluated for effect size before statistical testing (5% minimum variance explained). Bootstrapping was used for testing mean differences and differences between correlations.
PCL scores indicated that approximately 10% of the sample was experiencing probable clinically significant levels of post-traumatic distress (PCL score > 50). The PCL and PRS were moderately correlated with a r = .59. Gender differences for the PCL and PRS were small, accounting for 1% of the total variance. Higher PCL scores were associated with higher state anger (r = .47), as well as measures of anger-out (r = .32) and trait anger (r = .34). Higher PRS scores were associated only with higher state anger (r = .27). Scores on the two 9/11/01-related scales were not statistically associated (i.e., less than 5% of the variance explained) with traits of anger control, anger-in, or hostility.
The majority of students were not overly stressed by indirect exposure to the events of 9/11/01, perhaps owing to the temporal, social, and/or geographical distance from the event. Those who reported greater negative impact appeared to also be experiencing higher levels of current anger and exhibited a characterologic style of higher overt anger expression.
PMCID: PMC3286004  PMID: 15737775
Adolescents; Post-traumatic stress; September 11, 2001 attacks; African-American; Anger; Hostility
19.  Longitudinal Trajectories and Predictors of Adolescent Suicidal Ideation and Attempts Following Inpatient Hospitalization 
Remarkably little is known regarding the temporal course of adolescent suicidal ideation and behavior, the prediction of suicidal attempts from changes in suicidal ideation, or the prediction of suicidal attempts after accounting for suicidal ideation as a predictor. A sample of 143 adolescents 12–15 years old was assessed during psychiatric inpatient hospitalization and again at 3, 6, 9, 15, and 18 months postdischarge through a series of structured interviews and parent- and adolescent-reported instruments. Symptoms of depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, externalizing psychopathology, hopelessness, and engagement in several forms of self-injurious/suicidal behaviors (i.e., suicide threats/gestures, plans, nonsuicidal self-injury [NSSI]) were assessed. Latent growth curve analyses revealed a period of suicidal ideation remission between baseline and 6 months following discharge, as well as a subtle period of suicidal ideation reemergence between 9 and 18 months postdischarge. Changes in suicidal ideation predicted suicide attempts. After accounting for the effects of suicidal ideation, baseline suicide threats/gestures also predicted future suicide attempts. Higher adolescent-reported depressive symptoms, lower parent-reported externalizing symptoms, and higher frequencies of NSSI predicted weaker suicidal ideation remission slopes. Findings underscore the need for more longitudinal research on the course of adolescent suicidality.
PMCID: PMC3703821  PMID: 18229987
suicidal ideation; suicidal attempts; nonsuicidal self injury; adolescence; longitudinal methods
20.  Association between parental psychopathology and suicidal behavior among adult offspring: results from the cross-sectional South African Stress and Health survey 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:65.
Prior studies have demonstrated a link between parental psychopathology and offspring suicidal behavior. However, it remains unclear what aspects of suicidal behavior among adult offspring are predicted by specific parental mental disorders, especially in Africa. This study set out to investigate the association between parental psychopathology and suicidal behavior among their adult offspring in a South African general population sample.
Parental psychopathology and suicidal behavior in offspring were assessed using structured interviews among 4,315 respondents from across South Africa. The WHO CIDI was used to collect data on suicidal behavior, while the Family History Research Diagnostic Criteria Interview was used to assess prior parental psychopathology. Bivariate and multivariate survival models tested the associations between the type and number parental mental disorders (including suicide) and lifetime suicidal behavior in the offspring. Associations between a range of parental disorders and the onset of subsequent suicidal behavior (suicidal ideation, plans, and attempts) among adult offspring were tested.
The presence of parental psychopathology significantly increased the odds of suicidal behavior among their adult offspring. More specifically, parental panic disorder was associated with offspring suicidal ideation, while parental panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and suicide were significantly associated with offspring suicide attempts. Among those with suicidal ideation, none of the tested forms of parental psychopathology was associated with having suicide plans or attempts. There was a dose–response relationship between the number of parental disorders and odds of suicidal ideation.
Parental psychopathology increases the odds of suicidal behavior among their adult offspring in the South African context, replicating results found in other regions. Specific parental disorders predicted the onset and persistence of suicidal ideation or attempts in their offspring. Further research into these associations is recommended in order to determine the mechanisms through which parent psychopathology increases the odds of suicidal behavior among offspring.
PMCID: PMC3944470  PMID: 24592882
Suicide; Parental psychopathology; South Africa
21.  Relationship between Vehicle Emissions Laws and Incidence of Suicide by Motor Vehicle Exhaust Gas in Australia, 2001–06: An Ecological Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(1):e1000210.
In an ecological study, David Studdert and colleagues show that areas of Australia with fewer vehicles pre-dating stringent carbon monoxide emission laws have lower rates of suicide due to asphyxiation by motor vehicle exhaust gas.
Globally, suicide accounts for 5.2% of deaths among persons aged 15 to 44 years and its incidence is rising. In Australia, suicide rates peaked in 1997 and have been declining since. A substantial part of that decline stems from a plunge in suicides by one particular method: asphyxiation by motor vehicle exhaust gas (MVEG). Although MVEG remains the second most common method of suicide in Australia, its incidence decreased by nearly 70% in the decade to 2006. The extent to which this phenomenon has been driven by national laws in 1986 and 1999 that lowered permissible levels of carbon monoxide (CO) emissions is unknown. The objective of this ecological study was to test the relationship by investigating whether areas of Australia with fewer noxious vehicles per capita experienced lower rates of MVEG suicide.
Methods and Findings
We merged data on MVEG suicides in Australia (2001–06) with data on the number and age of vehicles in the national fleet, as well as socio-demographic data from the national census. Poisson regression was used to analyse the relationship between the incidence of suicide within two levels of geographical area—postcodes and statistical subdivisions (SSDs)—and the population density of pre-1986 and pre-1999 passenger vehicles in those areas. (There was a mean population of 8,302 persons per postcode in the study dataset and 87,413 persons per SSD.) The annual incidence of MVEG suicides nationwide decreased by 57% (from 2.6 per 100,000 in 2001 to 1.1 in 2006) during the study period; the population density of pre-1986 and pre-1999 vehicles decreased by 55% (from 14.2 per 100 persons in 2001 to 6.4 in 2006) and 26% (from 44.5 per 100 persons in 2001 to 32.9 in 2006), respectively. Area-level regression analysis showed that the suicide rates were significantly and positively correlated with the presence of older vehicles. A percentage point decrease in the population density of pre-1986 vehicles was associated with a 6% decrease (rate ratio [RR] = 1.06; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05–1.08) in the incidence of MVEG suicide within postcode areas; a percentage point decrease in the population density of pre-1999 vehicles was associated with a 3% decrease (RR = 1.03; 95% CI 1.02–1.04) in the incidence of MVEG suicide.
Areas of Australia with fewer vehicles predating stringent CO emission laws experience lower rates of MVEG suicide. Although those emission laws were introduced primarily for environmental reasons, countries that lack them may miss the benefits of a serendipitous suicide prevention strategy.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Suicide (self-inflicted death) is a major, preventable public-health problem. About 1 million people die each year from suicide and about 20 times as many people attempt suicide. Globally, suicide rates have increased by nearly a half over the past 45 years and suicide is now among the three leading causes of death in people aged 15–44 years. Within this age group, 1 in 20 deaths is a suicide. Most people who commit suicide have a mental illness, usually depression or substance abuse, but suicide can also be triggered by a stressful event such as losing a partner. Often warning signs are present—a person who talks about killing themselves must always be taken seriously. Adequate prevention and treatment of mental illness and interventions that teach young people coping skills and improve their self-esteem have shown promise in reducing suicide rates, as have strategies (for example, restrictions on the sale of pain killers) that reduce access to common methods of suicide.
Why Was This Study Done?
In Australia, the suicide rate has been declining since 1997 when a record 2,722 suicides occurred. Fewer suicides by asphyxiation (oxygen deprivation) by motor vehicle gas exhaust (MVEG) account for much of this decline. MVEG contains carbon monoxide, a toxic gas that blocks oxygen transport around the body. Although MVEG suicide is still the second most common means of suicide in Australia, its incidence has dropped by two-thirds since 1997 but why? One possibility is that national laws passed in 1986 and 1999 that lowered the permissible level of carbon monoxide in vehicle exhaust for environmental reasons have driven the decline in MVEG suicides. Evidence from other countries suggests that this might be the case but no-one has directly investigated the relationship between MVEG suicide and the use of vehicles with reduced carbon monoxide emissions. In this ecological study (a study in which the effect of an intervention is studied on groups of people rather than on individuals), the researchers ask whether the number of pre-1986 and pre-1999 vehicles within particular geographic areas in Australia is correlated with the rates of MVEG suicide in those areas between 2001 and 2006.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers obtained data on MVEG suicides from the Australian National Coroners Information System and data on the number and age of vehicles on the road from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. MVEG suicides dropped from 498 in 2001 to 231 in 2006, they report, and 28% of passenger vehicles registered in Australia were made before 1986 in 2001 but only 12% in 2006; the percentage of registered vehicles made before 1999 fell from 89% to 60% over the same period. The researchers then used a statistical technique called Poisson regression to analyze the relationship within postcode areas between the incidence of MVEG suicide and the presence of pre-1986 and pre-1999 vehicles. This analysis showed that in areas where older vehicles were more numerous there were more MVEG suicides (a positive correlation). Specifically, the researchers calculate that if the proportion of pre-1986 vehicles on the road in Australia had stayed at 2001 levels throughout their study period, 621 extra MVEG suicides would have occurred in the country over that time.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that in areas of Australia that had fewer vehicles on the road predating stringent vehicle emission laws, there were lower rates of MVEG suicide between 2001 and 2006. Unfortunately, this study cannot provide any information on the actual age of vehicles used in MVEG suicides or on the relationship between vehicle age and attempted MVEG suicides. It also cannot reveal whether those areas that had the sharpest decreases in the density of older vehicles had the sharpest decreases in suicide rates because very few suicides occurred in most postcodes during the study. Most importantly, the design of this study means that the researchers cannot discount the possibility that the changes in Australia's emission laws have steered people towards other methods of taking their own lives. Nevertheless, the findings of this study suggest that the introduction of stringent vehicle emission laws for environmental reasons might, serendipitously, be a worthwhile long-term suicide prevention strategy in countries where MVEG suicide is common.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Another PLoS Medicine research article, by Shu-Sen Chang and colleagues, investigates the evolution of the epidemic of charcoal-burning suicide in Taiwan
The US National Institute of Mental Health provides information on suicide and suicide prevention
The UK National Health Service Choices Web site has detailed information about suicide and its prevention
The World Health Organization provides information on the global burden of suicide and on suicide prevention (in several languages)
MedlinePlus provides links to further resources about suicide (in English and Spanish)
Suicide Prevention Australia is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization working as a public-health advocate in suicide prevention
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has recently published a review of suicide statistics in Australia
The National Coroners Information System is a database contains information on every death reported to an Australian coroner since July 2000 (January 2001 for Queensland)
PMCID: PMC2796388  PMID: 20052278
22.  The Treatment of Adolescent Suicide Attempters (TASA) Study: Predictors of Suicidal Events in an Open Treatment Trial 
To identify the predictors of suicidal events and attempts in depressed adolescent suicide attempters treated in an open treatment trial.
Adolescents who had made a recent suicide attempt and had unipolar depression (n=124) were either randomized (n=22) or given a choice (n=102) among three conditions. Two participants withdrew prior to treatment assignment. The remaining 124 youth received either: a specialized psychotherapy for suicide attempting adolescents (n=17), a medication algorithm (n=14), or the combination (n=93). The participants were followed up 6 months after intake with respect to rate, timing, and predictors of a suicidal event (attempt or acute suicidal ideation necessitating emergency referral).
The morbid risks of suicidal events and attempts upon 6-month follow-up were 0.19 and 0.12, respectively, with a median time to event of 44 days. Higher self-rated depression, suicidal ideation, family income, greater number of previous suicide attempts, lower maximum lethality of previous attempt, history of sexual abuse, and lower family cohesion predicted the occurrence, and earlier time to event, with similar findings for the outcome of attempts. A slower decline in suicidal ideation was associated with the occurrence of a suicidal event.
In this open trial, the 6-month morbid risks for suicidal events and for re-attempts were lower than in other comparable samples, suggesting that this intervention should be studied further. Important treatment targets include suicidal ideation, family cohesion, and sequelae of previous abuse. Because 40% of events occurred with 4 weeks of intake, an emphasis on safety planning and increased therapeutic contact early in treatment may be warranted.
PMCID: PMC2891930  PMID: 19730274
suicide attempt; adolescents; depression; pharmacotherapy; psychotherapy
23.  Suicide ideation, plans, and attempts among general practice patients with chronic health conditions in Puerto Rico 
Little is known about suicidal ideation among general practice patients in Puerto Rico. In this study we examined the rates, severity, and correlates of suicidal ideation, plans, and attempts among general practice patients with chronic illnesses. This is important in targeting appropriate interventions and management approaches to minimize and prevent suicide.
We screened patients with chronic physical conditions at general practices. Suicidal ideation was assessed with the suicidality module of the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview. Major depression was assessed with the Patient Health Questionnaire depression module. The relationship between sociodemographic factors, depression and suicidal ideation was examined with multiple logistic regression analysis. Among the subgroup that acknowledged suicidal ideation, we used multinomial logistic regression analysis to estimate simultaneously the multivariate associations of depression and sociodemographic factors with suicidality risk levels.
Of the 2068 patients screened, 15.4% acknowledged recent suicidal ideation. Among this group, 8.6% reported passive ideation, 3.7% active ideation without a plan, and 3.1% active ideation with a plan or attempt. According to multivariate logistic regression, suicidal ideation was higher among patients with moderately severe depression and severe depression than for those with milder symptoms. Patients aged 64 years or younger were over one and a half times more likely to acknowledge suicidal ideation than those aged 65 years and older. Compared with patients having a college degree, those with lower education had a twofold higher risk of suicidal ideation. Multinomial logistic regression analysis indicated that severe depression was associated with a higher likelihood of having a suicide plan or attempt.
The findings of this study suggest that public health strategies focusing on the systematic identification of patients with increased depression severity and the implementation of evidence-based depression treatments are relevant for minimizing and preventing suicidal behavior among general practice patients with chronic health conditions.
PMCID: PMC3068880  PMID: 21475631
suicidal ideation; chronic illnesses; depression; Puerto Rican
24.  Association between childhood adversities and long-term suicidality among South Africans from the results of the South African Stress and Health study: a cross-sectional study 
BMJ Open  2014;4(6):e004644.
Suicide and suicidal behaviours are significant public health problems and a leading cause of death worldwide and in South Africa. We examined the association between childhood adversities and suicidal behaviour over the life course.
A national probability sample of 4351 South African adult participants (aged 18 years and older) in the South African Stress and Health (SASH) study was interviewed as part of the World Mental Health Surveys initiative. Respondents provided sociodemographic and diagnostic information, as well as an account of suicide-related thoughts and behaviours. Suicidality or suicidal behaviour were defined as were defined as suicide attempts and suicidal ideation in the total sample, and suicide plans and attempts among ideators. Childhood adversities included physical abuse, sexual abuse, parental death, parental divorce, other parental loss, family violence, physical illness and financial adversity. The association between suicidality and childhood adversities was examined using discrete-time survival models.
More than a third of the respondents with suicidal behaviour experienced at least one childhood adversity, with physical abuse, parental death and parental divorce being the most prevalent adversities. Physical abuse, sexual abuse and parental divorce were identified as significant risk markers for lifetime suicide attempts, while physical abuse and parental divorce were significantly correlated with suicidal ideation. Two or more childhood adversities were associated with a twofold higher risk of lifetime suicide attempts. Sexual abuse (OR 9.3), parental divorce (OR 3.1) and childhood physical abuse (OR 2.2) had the strongest associations with lifetime suicide attempts. The effect of childhood adversities on suicidal tendencies varied over the life course. For example, sexual abuse was significantly associated with suicide attempts during childhood and teen years, but not during young and later adulthood.
Childhood adversities, especially sexual abuse, physical abuse and parental divorce, are important risk factors for the onset and persistence of suicidal behaviour, with this risk being greatest in childhood and adolescence.
PMCID: PMC4067829  PMID: 24919638
25.  Association of Aggression and Non-Suicidal Self Injury: A School-Based Sample of Adolescents 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e78149.
Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) in adolescent has drawn increasing attention because it is associated with subsequent depression, drug abuse, anxiety disorders, and suicide. In the present study, we aimed to estimate the prevalence of non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) in a school-based sample of Chinese adolescents and to explore the association between aggression and NSSI.
This study was part of a nationwide study on aggression among adolescents in urban areas of China. A sample of 2907 school students including 1436 boys and 1471 girls were randomly selected in Guangdong Province, with their age ranging from 10 to 18 years old. NSSI, aggression, emotional management and other factors were measured by self-administrated questionnaire. Multinomial logistic regression was used to estimate the association between aggression and NSSI, after adjustment for participants’ emotional management, and other potential confounding variables.
The one year self-reported prevalence of NSSI was 33.6%. Of them, 21.7% engaged in ‘minor NSSI’, 11.9% in ‘moderate/severe NSSI’. 96.9% of self-injuries engaged in one to five different types of NSSI in the past year. Hostility, verbal and indirect aggression was significantly associated with self-reported NSSI after adjusting for other potential factors both in ‘minor NSSI’ and ‘moderate/severe NSSI’. Hostility, verbal and indirect aggression was significantly associated with greater risk of ‘minor NSSI’ and ‘moderate/severe NSSI’ in those who had poor emotional management ability.
These findings highlight a high prevalence of NSSI and indicate the importance of hostility, verbal and indirect aggression as potentially risk factor for NSSI among Chinese adolescents.
PMCID: PMC3813494  PMID: 24205132

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