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.