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Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2007 Mar;41(3):257-65.

Risk of repetition of suicide attempt, suicide or all deaths after an episode of attempted suicide: a register-based survival analysis.

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Centre for Suicide Research, S√łndergade 17, Odense C 5000, Denmark.



This study was undertaken in order to estimate the incidence of repetition of suicide attempt, suicide and all deaths, and to analyse the influence of psychiatric illness and socio-demographic factors on these.


The study is a Danish register-based survival analysis that retrieved personal data on socio-economic, psychiatric and mortality conditions from various registers. Hazards were estimated using Cox regression with a time-dependence covariate. Suicide-attempters (2.614) and non-attempters (39.210)were analysed being matched by gender, age and place of residence.


The average follow-up period for suicide-attempters was 3.88 years, during which 271 (10.37%) of them died. By comparison, death occurred four times more often among suicide-attempters than among non-attempters. Suicide was far more common among attempters (61, 2.33%) than among non-attempters (16, 0.04%). A proportion of the attempters (31.33%) repeated their attempt within the follow-up period. The most reliable predictors for suicide and death were repetition, suicide attempt method and treatment for mental illness. The most reliable predictors for repetition were age, gender and mental illness.


Individuals with a history of suicide attempts form a well-defined high-risk group for suicide, and are in need of treatment immediately after the episode. Somatic and psychiatric staff must be informed about the risk factors for subsequent suicidal behaviour after an episode of attempted suicide. Furthermore, departments that are in contact with suicidal individuals need action plans to ensure that all such individuals are discharged to proper treatment immediately after the suicide attempt.

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