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Suicidal behaviour of psychiatric in-patients

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Objective: The study aimed to examine suicidal behaviour before and during in-patient care in a psychiatric state hospital.

Method: Based upon a psychiatric basic documentation system prevalence and risk factors of in-patient suicides, suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts were investigated over an 11-year period from 1989 until 1999.

Results: A total of 30 in-patient suicides were found among 21 062 patients. According to the multivariate logistic regression analysis the risk of hospital suicide increases for patients with schizophrenia, higher cumulative length of stay, previous suicide attempt, part-time employment and training/retraining. Predictors of suicide attempt during hospitalization are suicide attempt on admission, personality disorder, suicidal thoughts on admission, schizophrenia and affective disorder.

Conclusion: As Schizophrenics represent the high-risk group of in-patient suicide, suicide prevention should be a major goal in their treatment. More frequent suicide risk assessment is recommended particularly before granting a leave or an outing.
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Keywords: attempted suicide; mental disorders; psychiatric hospital; psychiatry; suicide

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany

Publication date: 01 August 2002

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