June 1988

Risk Factors for Adolescent SuicideA Comparison of Adolescent Suicide Victims With Suicidal Inpatients

Author Affiliations

From the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Pittsburgh (Drs Brent, Kolko, and Zelenak, Messrs Goldstein and Allman, and Ms Allan), and the Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh (Dr Perper).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1988;45(6):581-588. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1988.01800300079011

• The characteristics of adolescent suicide victims (n = 27) were compared with those of a group at high risk for suicide, suicidal psychiatric inpatients (n = 56) who had either seriously considered (n = 18) or actually attempted (n = 38) suicide. The suicide victims and suicidal inpatients showed similarly high rates of affective disorder and family histories of affective disorder, antisocial disorder, and suicide, suggesting that among adolescents there is a continuum of suicidality from ideation to completion. However, four putative risk factors were more prevalent among the suicide victims: (1) diagnosis of bipolar disorder; (2) affective disorder with comorbidity; (3) lack of previous mental health treatment; and (4) availability of firearms in the homes, which taken together accurately classified 81.9% of cases. In addition, suicide completers showed higher suicidal intent than did suicide attempters. These findings suggest a profile of psychiatric patients at high risk for suicide, and the proper identification and treatment of such patients may prevent suicide in highrisk clinical populations.