Psychological Symptoms in Late Adolescence and Long-Term Risk of Suicide and Suicide Attempt

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Mental disorders in the general population are associated with increased risk of suicidality, but less is known about the independent predictive ability of self-reported psychological symptoms. We followed 49,321 screened and interviewed Swedish conscripts through 36-year follow-up to test whether psychological symptoms predicted suicide and hospitalization for suicide attempts. There were 619 suicides and 1,230 suicide attempts during the follow-up period. After excluding subjects with any psychiatric diagnoses (n = 5,691, 12%) and controlling for other psychological symptoms, severe symptoms of anger, trouble falling asleep, and feeling down predicted suicide. Similarly anger, headaches, feeling down, and nervousness predicted suicide attempt. Self-reported psychological symptoms may have a predictive value beyond psychiatric diagnosis.

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