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May 10, 1976

The Serious Suicide Attempt: Five-Year Follow-up Study of 886 Patients

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, the University of California Medical Center, and the Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute, San Francisco. This study was completed with the cooperation of the University of Edinburgh and the University of California, San Francisco, departments of psychiatry, at the Medical Research Council Unit for Epidemiological Studies in Psychiatry, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, Edinburgh, Scotland.

JAMA. 1976;235(19):2105-2109. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260450017021

A five-year follow-up study was undertaken of a previously reported 1968 cohort of 886 people who had attempted suicide. The working hypothesis that those who had seriously attempted suicide (21%) would have a higher suicide rate on long-term follow-up was confirmed. During the five-year follow-up period, a total of 34 suicides were found, which represented 3.84% of the total number at risk. Of those who had seriously attempted suicide, 12 (6.45%) of 186 succeeded later; of the other (nonserious or less serious) attempters, 22 (3.1%) of 700 succeeded. The serious-attempter suicide rate was 2.1 times that of the others, and this difference was statistically significant (P <.05). In addition, patients who made attempts that were judged serious on medical but not on psychiatric grounds were found to have a suicide rate significantly higher (P <.05) than patients who had made suicide attempts that were not a serious medical threat.

(JAMA 235:2105-2109, 1976)