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Am J Psychiatry. 2005 Nov;162(11):2173-5.

Emergent suicidality in a clinical psychotherapy trial for adolescent depression.

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  • 1Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 3811 O'Hara St., BFT 311, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-2592, USA.



The authors' goal was to examine the incidence and predictors of emergent suicidality that occurred during a clinical trial of psychotherapy for adolescent depression.


The rates and predictors of emergent suicidality in 88 medication-free depressed adolescent outpatients who reported no current suicidality during an intake interview were assessed over 12 to 16 weeks of psychotherapy treatment.


The incidence of emergent suicidality was 12.5% (11 of 88 subjects). Self-reported suicidal thoughts at intake were a significant predictor of emergent suicidality, even when suicidality was denied at intake interview.


Emergent suicidality is a common occurrence in psychosocial treatment of adolescent depression, with rates similar to those reported recently in antidepressant trials. To evaluate accurately the role of treatment in emergent suicidality, it is important to assess self-reported suicidality at intake and to balance treatment groups on this key predictor of emergent suicidality.

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