Depressive Disorders and Suicidal Intent in Adolescent Suicide Attempters

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This study describes the relationships between the presence of a depressive disorder, suicidal intent, and the medical seriousness of a suicide attempt in an adolescent sample. Consecutive adolescents who attempted suicide were evaluated for the presence or absence of current DSM-III-R depressive disorders (DD). Adolescent suicide attempters with DD were compared with those without DD regarding the level of their suicide intent and the medical seriousness of their suicide attempt. Adolescent suicide attempters with a diagnosis of DD were found to have a higher level of suicidal intent than were those without depressive illness. There was no relationship between the medical seriousness of the suicide attempt and the presence of DD. Clinicians should specifically assess for DSM-III-R DD as a means of determining suicidal intent in adolescent suicide attempters. J Dev Behav Pediatr 15:74–77, 1994. Index terms: depression, suicide, adolescent, emergency.

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