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J Clin Psychiatry. 1994 Jun;55(6):252-4.

Serum cholesterol levels and suicidal tendencies in psychiatric inpatients.

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  • 1Gehah Psychiatric Hospital, Petah-Tiqva, Israel.



Cholesterol has been generally associated with suicide and aggression. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between serum cholesterol levels and suicide in psychiatric inpatients.


Data on age, sex, serum cholesterol levels, absence or presence of suicidal ideations, absence or presence of past suicide attempts, ethnicity, weight, Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression scores, and physical illnesses were collected from 584 inpatient medical records. The patients were diagnosed by the authors according to the DSM-III-R criteria. Serum cholesterol levels were evaluated 24 to 48 hours after admission. The entire group and each diagnostic group were divided as follows: patients who had attempted suicide at least once, patients who expressed a suicidal wish or plan during hospitalization or the month before hospitalization, and patients who had neither made suicidal gestures nor expressed suicidal thoughts. Statistical evaluation was done using analysis of variance and chi-square test.


Patients who had attempted suicide had significantly lower serum cholesterol than nonsuicidal patients (F = 4.68, df = 2, p < .01). Comparison on the basis of specific diagnoses revealed similar results in age- and sex-matched depressed patients (F = 4.02, df = 2, p < .01), but not in schizophrenic or bipolar patients. These results were not influenced by age, sex, ethnicity, weight, disease severity, or physical health.


Our findings may imply that an association exists between cholesterol, suicide, and depression.

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