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Acta Paediatr. 2005 Jul;94(7):952-9.

Substance use and suicidal conduct: a study of adolescents hospitalized for suicide attempt and ideation.

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Research Group on Adolescent Health, University Institute for Social and Preventive Medicine, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland.



To study the prevalence of psychoactive substance use disorder (PSUD) among suicidal adolescents, psychoactive substance intoxication at the moment of the attempt, and the association between PSUD at baseline and either occurrence of suicide or repetition of suicide attempt(s).


186 adolescents aged 16 to 21 y hospitalized for suicide attempt or overwhelming suicidal ideation were included (T0); 148 of them were traced again for evaluations after 6 mo (T1) and/or 18 mo (T2). DSM-IV diagnoses were assessed each time using the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview.


At T0, 39.2% of the subjects were found to have a PSUD. Among them, a significantly higher proportion was intoxicated at the time of the attempt than those without PSUD (44.3% vs 25.4%). Among the 148 adolescents who could be traced at either T1 or T2, two died from suicide and 30 repeated suicide attempts once or more times. A marginally significant association was found between death by suicide/repetition of suicide attempt and alcohol abuse/dependence at baseline (OR=3.3, 95% CI 0.7-15.0; OR=2.6, 95% CI 0.7-9.3). More than one suicide attempt before admission to hospital at T0 (OR=3.2, 95% CI 1.1-10.0) and age over 19 y at T0 (OR=3.2, 95% CI 1.1-9.2) were independently associated with the likelihood of death by suicide or repetition of suicide attempt.


Among adolescents hospitalized for suicide attempt or overwhelming suicidal ideation, the risk of death or repetition of attempt is high and is associated with previous suicide attempts--especially among older adolescents--and also marginally associated with PSUD; these adolescents should be carefully evaluated for such risks and followed up once discharged from the hospital.

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