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Keywords:

  • attempted suicide;
  • suicide;
  • repetition;
  • survival analysis;
  • follow-up study

Tejedor MC, Díaz A, Castillón JJ, Pericay JM. Attempted suicide: repetition and survival— findings of a follow-up study. Acta Psychiatr Scand 1999: 100: 205–211. © Munksgaard 1999.

Objective: This was a prospective follow-up study of suicidal patients to assess the influence over time of different risk factors, whether on completed suicides or reattempts. Survival analysis makes it possible to weigh the influence of variables that increase or decrease a patient's life span or that make reattempts less likely.

Method: A cohort of 150 patients admitted to a psychiatric department after a suicide attempt was followed up over 10 years. The study protocol used standardized criteria, and periodic controls were carried out in all patients.

Results: In total, 12% of patients completed suicide, 10% died from natural causes, 75% were still alive and 25% reattempted. In the survival analysis the risk for completed suicide or reattempting was highest during the first 2 years after the index attempt admission. Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) was the factor that most increased survival time. The number of previous attempts decreased survival time and increased the risk of reattempts.

Conclusion: Since suicidal risk varied over time, intensifying contact with patients during periods of psychopathological change or life events could prolong their survival.