Clinical Correlates of Planned and Unplanned Suicide Attempts

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Abstract

Suicide attempters differ in the degree of planning for their suicide attempts. The purpose of this study was to identify differences between individuals who make planned (≥3 hours of planning) and unplanned (<3 hours of planning) suicide attempts. Depressed suicide attempters (n = 110) were compared based on degree of planning of their most recent suicide attempt on demographic and clinical variables. Participants who made planned suicide attempts were more likely to have family history of completed suicide, more severe and frequent suicidal ideation, greater trait impulsivity, and greater suicidal intent and more severe medical consequences for both their most recent and most serious suicide attempts. These results suggest clear clinical differences based on the degree of suicide attempt planning. Severe suicidal ideation, high suicide intent, family history of suicide completion, and high levels of motor impulsivity contribute to a phenotype that is at greater risk of planned, highly lethal suicide attempts.

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