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Encephale. 2012 Sep;38(4):296-303. doi: 10.1016/j.encep.2011.02.006. Epub 2011 Aug 10.

[Prevalence and risk factors for suicide ideation, plans and attempts in the French general population: results from the ESEMeD study].

[Article in French]

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Service de psychiatrie, hôpital Lariboisière-Fernand-Widal, Paris, France.



Suicide is a public health problem worldwide. The objective of this study is to analyse the prevalence and risk factors of suicide related outcomes (ideation, plan and attempt) using data from the ESEMeD-France project.


This is a face-to-face household survey carried out in a probability representative sample of the adult general population of France. A total of 6796 subjects were interviewed using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) developed framework of the World Mental Health Survey Initiative. Based on evidence that reports of such potentially embarrassing behaviour are higher in self-administered than interviewer-administered surveys, these questions were printed in a self-administered booklet and referred to by letter.


Lifetime prevalence of suicide ideation, plan and attempts were 12.4, 4.4 and 3.4% respectively. Risk of suicide-related outcomes was significantly higher among women and younger cohorts. Having a mental disorder was associated with an increased risk, especially in the case of psychiatric comorbidity. Mental disorders that are associated with an increase in suicidal attempts are anxiety disorders (except social phobia), major depressive episodes, oppositional defiant disorders, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. The suicidal risk notably increases in conjunction with multiple mental disorders. In this study, employment and marital status do not appear to be a risk factor for suicidal behaviour.


The prevalence of suicide-related outcomes is high when compared with other countries. Results identified groups with higher risk (women, young, subjects with a mental disorder and having a plan) in which suicide prevention could to be targeted. The results of this study suggest that to improve suicide prevention strategies it is necessary to perform an in-depth clinical evaluation of suicidal ideas and projects, and identify precisely psychiatric comorbidity to allow a more efficient treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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