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J Affect Disord. 2012 Dec 10;141(2-3):237-45. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2012.03.040. Epub 2012 Jun 15.

A longitudinal population-based study exploring treatment utilization and suicidal ideation and behavior in major depressive disorder.

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Department of Psychology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada.



This study aimed to longitudinally examine the relationship between treatment utilization and suicidal behavior among people with major depressive disorder in a nationally representative sample.


Data came from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) (Wave 1: N=43,093; Wave 2: N=34,653). Suicidal and non-suicidal individuals at Wave 1 were compared based on subsequent treatment utilization. Suicidal behavior at Wave 2 was compared between people with major depressive disorder who had sought treatment at Wave 1 versus those that had not.


Individuals with past year major depressive disorder at Wave 1 who attempted suicide were more likely to be hospitalized at follow up compared to non-suicidal people with major depressive disorder [adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=4.46; 95% confidence interval [95% CI]: 2.54-7.85]; however, they were not more likely to seek other forms of treatment. Among those with past year major depressive disorder who sought treatment at baseline, visiting an emergency room (AOR=3.08; 95% CI: 1.61-5.89) and being hospitalized (AOR=2.41; 95% CI: 1.13-5.14), was associated with an increased likelihood of attempting suicide within 3 years even after adjusting for mental disorder comorbidity, depression severity, and previous suicidal behavior.


Unable to draw conclusions about completed suicide or adequacy of treatment.


Suicidal behavior does not lead individuals with major depressive disorder to seek treatment with professionals or use antidepressant medications; instead, they are more likely to use emergency services. These findings suggest that treatment efforts for people with major depressive disorder who are suicidal need improvement.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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