• depression;
  • suicide;
  • attempted suicide;
  • dexamethasone suppression test

The present study was undertaken to further explore the relationship between the dexamethasone suppression test (DST) and suicide. Depressed inpatients who had undergone the DST at index admission and later committed suicide (n= 13) were matched for age, gender, diagnosis, and type of DST (1 mg, 2 mg) with depressed inpatients from the same hospital and study time period to form 2 groups: a suicide attempter group (n= 25) and a nonattempter group (n= 28). The suicide completers group had significantly higher 1600 postdexamethasone cortisol levels than the suicide attempters group and a significantly higher 1600 rate of DST nonsuppression compared with the suicide attempter + nonattempter combined group. Although the rate of DST nonsuppression did not differ between the suicide attempter and nonattempter groups, serious attempters had significantly higher 1600 cortisol levels and a statistically higher proportion of patients who completed suicide than nonserious attempters. Comparing suicide completers with and without DST nonsuppression revealed a marginal difference concerning the time of the DST to suicide, with the nonsuppressor group time to suicide being less than the suppressor group (4.3 months vs 11.7 months).