Depressive characteristics of adult psychiatric inpatients with a history of multiple versus one or no suicide attempts

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multiple attempter; suicidal ideation; depression; hopelessness


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Background: A growing body of research suggests that individuals with a history of multiple suicide attempts exhibit more severe psychopathology than individuals with only one or no previous suicide attempts. Given the strong link between diagnoses of major depression and suicide risk, our primary goal was to determine which specific depressive characteristics differentiate multiple attempters from patients with one or no previous attempts. Methods: Participants were 121 depressed adult psychiatric inpatients. Participants were administered diagnostic interviews to assess the course and characteristics of their depression history as well as measures of suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, depressive symptoms, hopelessness, and dysfunctional attitudes. Results: Patients with a history of multiple suicide attempts exhibited higher levels of suicidal ideation and depressive symptoms, but not hopelessness or dysfunctional attitudes, than the other two groups. In addition, multiple attempters reported an earlier age of major depression onset. Conclusions: The current results add to a growing body of research suggesting that multiple attempters may represent a distinct patient population.

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