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Association between familial suicidal behavior and frequency of attempts among depressed suicide attempters

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Lizardi D, Sher L, Sullivan GM, Stanley B, Burke A, Oquendo MA. Association between familial suicidal behavior and frequency of attempts among depressed suicide attempters. Objective: 

Only a few studies have examined whether a family history of suicide influences the severity of suicidal acts and the results have been inconsistent. The current study aimed to examine whether a family history of suicidal acts predicts severity of suicide attempts. Method: 

190 suicide attempters aged 18–75 years with a lifetime history of major depression were assessed for first-degree family history of suicidality and severity of suicide attempts (number and lethality of prior suicide attempts and age at first attempt). Results: 

Regression analyses indicate that a positive family history of suicidal behaviors predicts a greater number of suicide attempts. Reasons for living predict number and lethality of prior attempts. Conclusion: 

It is critical to assess for family history of suicidal behavior when treating depressed suicide attempters as it may serve as an indicator of the risk of repeat suicide attempt and as a guide for treatment.

Keywords: family history; first-degree relatives; severity; suicide; suicide attempt

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0447.2009.01365.x

Affiliations: School of Social Work, Columbia University

Publication date: May 1, 2009

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