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September 1976

Hopelessness, Depression, and Suicide Intent

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1976;33(9):1069-1073. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1976.01770090059005

• One hundred fifty-four suicide attempters, threateners, and psychiatric controls were rated on suicide intent scales and given tests to assess hopelessness, depression, and self-rated suicide risk. Ninety-four subjects were retested one month later. Both hopelessness and depression were significantly greater in suicidal subjects. In threateners, hopelessness and depression scores differed significantly between high and low suicide intent subjects. In attempters ranked by suicide intent at time of testing, more and less suicidal subjects differed significantly in hopelessness and depression scores. Both depression and hopelessness were sensitive to changes in suicide risk during the one-month follow-up. In all analyses, hopelessness correlated more highly with suicide intent than did depression. The data were regarded as supporting the hypothesis that hopelessness is more closely related to suicide intent than is depression.

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