Looking Back on Self-Poisoning: The Relationship between Depressed Mood and Reporting of Suicidal Intent in People Who Deliberately Self-Poison

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Abstract

Lifetime worst-point suicidality is associated with risk of subsequent death by suicide. Yet little is known about how people who deliberately self-poison (DSP) change their appraisal of suicidal intent of a single DSP episode over time. We assessed whether suicidal intent for a single index episode of DSP changed over time and factors associated with such change. We studied 202 patients admitted for DSP (66.3% female, all Caucasian), 18–85 years old (M = 37.8, SD = 14.8), using a longitudinal design (0, 3, and 12 months). The primary outcome measure was change in suicidal intent for a single index DSP episode, analyzed using multilevel modeling. Wish to die and whether the episode was considered a suicide attempt increased significantly with depressed mood. Wish to die associated with the index episode also increased over time independently of depressed mood. No association with time or depressed mood was found for perceived likelihood of dying. Depressed mood was strongly associated with appraisal of suicidal intent associated with a DSP episode. In suicide risk assessment, reports of the nature and severity of past DSP should be interpreted in light of current mood.

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