The emergence of suicidal ideation during the post-hospital treatment of depressed patients

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Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


There is a paucity of research on the emergence of suicidal ideation in recently hospitalized patients undergoing treatment for depression. As part of a larger clinical trial, patients (N=103) with major depression without suicidal ideation at hospital discharge were followed for up to 6 months while receiving study-related outpatient treatments. Fifty-five percent reported the emergence of suicidal ideation during the outpatient period, with the vast majority (79%) exhibiting this problem within the first 2 months post-discharge. Seventy percent of those reporting severe suicidaiity prior to hospitalization exhibited a reemergence of suicidal ideation post-discharge. However, 29% without significant suicidality at the index hospitalization later developed suicidal ideation during the outpatient treatment period. A faster time to the emergence of suicidal ideation was predicted by both higher prehospitalization levels of suicidal ideation as well as greater depression severity at hospital discharge. Overall, rates of emergent suicidal ideation found in the current sample of recently hospitalized patients were higher than those reported in previous outpatient samples.

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